The Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 401,
March 1849, by Various

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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 401, March 1849

Author: Various

Release Date: March 25, 2013 [EBook #42412]

Language: English

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No. CCCCI.MARCH, 1849.Vol. LXV.


Scientific and Practical Agriculture, 255
The Sycamine. By Δ, 274
After a Year's Republicanism, 275
The Caxtons. Part XI., 287
M. Prudhon.—Contradictions Economiques, 304
The Green Hand.—A "Short" Yarn. Part II., 314
Mérimée's History of Peter the Cruel, 337
The Opening of the Session, 357


To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed.





No. CCCCI.MARCH, 1849.Vol. LXV.


There are three reasons why the second edition of a good book, upon an advancing branch of knowledge, should be better than the first. The author, however conversant he may have been with the subject when he wrote his book, is always more thoroughly read in it—supposing him a worthy instructor of the public—his opinions more carefully digested, and more fully matured, when a second edition is called for. Then he has had time to reconsider, and, if necessary, remodel his plan—adding here, retrenching there—introducing new subject-matter in one place, and leaving out, in another, topics which he had previously treated of with more or less detail. And, lastly, the knowledge itself has advanced. New ideas, which in the interval have established themselves, find a necessary place in the new issue; facts and hypotheses which have been proved unsound drop naturally out of his pages; and, on the whole, the later work exhibits a nearer approach to that truthful summit, on which the eyes of all the advancers of knowledge are supposed evermore to rest.

For all these reasons, the second edition of the Book of the Farm is better than the first. The opinions of the author have been reconsidered and materially improved—especially in reference to scientific points; the arrangement has been simplified, and the whole book condensed, by the exclusion of those descriptions of machinery which properly belong to the department of agricultural mechanics, and which we believe are about to be published as a separate work; and the strides which practical agriculture has taken during the last ten years, and the topics which have chiefly arrested attention, are considered with the aid of the better lights we now possess.

Of all the arts of life, there is none which draws its knowledge from so great a variety of fountains as practical agriculture. Every branch of human knowledge is mutually connected—we may say interwoven with—and throws light upon, or is enlightened by, every other. But none of those which largely contribute to the maintenance of social life, and conduce to the power and stability of states, is so varied in its demands upon the results of intellectual inquiry, as husbandry,—or rural economy in its largest sense.

Look at that magnificent ship, which cleaves the waters, now trusting to her canvass and wafted by favouring breezes; now, despite the fiercest gales, paddling her triumphant way over hill and valley, precipice and ravine, which the raging sea, out of her fertile materials, is every moment fashioning beneath her feet. Is there any product of human art in which more intellect is embodied than in this piece of living mechanism? The [256] timber can tell of the axe of the woodman on far-distant hills, and of the toils of many craftsmen in fitting it for its present purpose. The iron of the researches of the mineralogist, the laborious skill of the miner, the alchemy of the smelter, the wonders of the tilt-hammer, the ingenuity of the mechanist, and the almost inconceivable and mathematical nicety by which its various portions are fitted to each other, and, like the muscles and sinews of the human body, made to play together for a purpose previously contemplated—an uninstructed man might almost say, previously agreed upon among themselves. The steam, of what hidden secrets of nature!—the mysteries of heat, which could not hide themselves from the searching genius of Black,—the chemistry of water, which the ever-pondering mind of Watt compelled from unwilling nature,—the endless contrivances by which its fierce power was tamed to most submissive obedience in the workshops of Soho. The compass may for a moment carry us back to the fabled mountains of our infancy, in which the hidden loadstone attracted the fated vessel to its ruin; but it brings us forward again to the truer marvels of modern magnetism, and to the intellect which has been expended in keeping the needle true to the pole-star in the iron boat, where, surrounded by metallic influences, countless attractions are incessantly soliciting it to deviate. And when, as the mid-day sun mounts to the zenith, the sextant and the quicksilver appear, how does it flash upon us that modern navigation is the child of astronomy; and that the mind embodied in the latest Rossian telescope is part and parcel of the inappreciable mass of thought to which, "walking the waters as a thing of life," that huge steam-frigate owes its being!

What a concentration of varied knowledge is seen in this single work of art! From how many sources has this knowledge come!—how many diverse pursuits or sciences have yielded their necessary quota to the common stock!—how many varied talents have been put under contribution to contrive its many parts, and put them fittingly together!

But, to the pursuits of the humble farmer, more aids still contribute than to those of the dauntless navigator. His patient and quiet life on land is as dependent upon varied knowledge, draws its instruction from as many sources, and is more bound up in visible union with all the branches of human science, than even the active and stirring life of the dweller on the sea.

Some of our journal writers are accustomed to ridicule the results of agricultural skill; to undervalue our successful field improvements; to laugh at Smithfield Christmas cattle, and at the exhibitions of our great annual shows. In thoughtlessness, often in ignorance, they write, and always for a temporary effect, which our progressing agriculture can well afford to pass by.

But we ask our rural reader to turn up the first volume of the Book of the Farm, and to cast his eye for a moment on the triad of beautiful shorthorns represented in the sixth plate; or on the magnificent stallion of the fourth plate, or on the graceful sheep of the seventh. We pass over the points in which, to the educated eye, their beauty consists; we dismiss, for the present, all consideration of their perfection as well-bred animals, and their fitness for the special purposes for which they have been reared. We wish him to tell us, if he can, how much mind has gone to the breeding, rearing, and feeding of these animals—how many varied branches of knowledge have lent their aid to this apparently simple and un-imposing result.

The food on which they have been brought up has been gathered from the soil—the grass, the hay, the root crops, the linseed, the barley, the oats. And how much intellect, from the earliest dawn of civilisation, has been lavished upon the soil!—how many branches of knowledge are at this moment uniting their strength to develop its latent capabilities! Geology yields the raw materials upon which, in after ages, the toils of the husbandman are expended. She explains what are the variations in the natural quality of these materials; how such variations have arisen; where they lead to increased, and where to diminished fertility; how and [257] where the still living rocks may contribute to the improvement of the dead earth which has been formed from them; and how, in some apparently insecure regions, the unsleeping volcano showers over the land, at varying periods, the elements of an endless fertility. Mineralogy lends her aid to unravel the origin, and nature, and wants, and capabilities of the soil; and, as the handmaid and willing follower of geology, dresses and classes the fragments which geology has let fall from her magnificent formations. But chemistry, especially, exhausts herself in the cause of the husbandman. No branch of rural art, as we shall see, is beyond her province and control. All that the soil originally derives from geologic and mineral materials, chemistry investigates; all that these substances naturally become, all that they ought to yield, how they may be persuaded to yield it; by what changes this is to be brought about; by means of what agencies, and how applied, such changes are to be induced:—chemistry busies herself with all this, and labours in some sense to complete, for the purposes of rural art, the information which geology and mineralogy had begun.

Upon the soil the plant grows. What a wonder and a mystery is the plant! A living, and growing, and breathing existence, that speaks silently to the eye, and to the sense of touch, and to the sense of smell—speaks kindly to man, and soothingly, and appeals to his reasoning powers—but is mute to the most open and wakeful of all his senses, and by no verbal speech reveals the secrets with which its full vessels are bursting. How many wise heads have watched, and tended, and studied it—the humble plant—interpreting its smallest movements, the meaning of every change of hue upon its leaves and flowers, and gathering profoundest wisdom from its fixed and voiceless life! To what new sciences has this study led the way! Botany never wearies in gathering and classifying; and of modern giants, Linnæus, and Jussieu, and Decandolle, and Brown, and Lindley, and Hooker, and Schleiden, have given their best years to unfold and perfect it. Alongside of descriptive and systematic botany has sprung up the allied branch of Structural Physiology, and the use of the microscope has added to this the younger sister Histology; while these two together, calling in the aid of chemistry, have built up the further departments of Chemical Physiology and Chemical Histology—departments too numerous, too profound in their research, and too special in their several niceties of observation, for one head clearly to comprehend and limit them.

And on the plant as it grows, and as a perfect whole, chemistry expends entire and most gifted intellectual lives. Of what the plant consists, whence it draws its subsistence, how it takes it in—in what form, in what quantity, at what period of the day—how the air feeds it, how the soil sustains it, why it grows well here and badly there—what are the nature, composition, action, and special influences of manures—where and when, and of what kind, they should be applied to the plant—how this or that effect is to be produced by them, and this or that defect remedied.

But the life of the plant is an unravelled thread. The steam-frigate appears to live, and thunders as she moves, breathing fire and smoke. But the still life of the plant awes and subdues more than all this. Man may forcibly obstruct the path of the growing twig, but it turns quietly aside and moves patiently on. The dead iron and wood, and the forceful steam, all obey man's will—his intellect overmasters their stubbornness, and tames them into crouching slaves—but the life of the plant defies him. That life he can extinguish; but to use the living plant he must obey it, and study its wants and tendencies. How vastly easier to achieve a boastful triumph over the most stubborn mineral matter, than to mould to man's will the humblest flower that grows!

And each new plant brings with it new conditions of life, new wants, new virtues, new uses, new whims, if we may so speak, to be humoured. The iron, and the timber, and the brass are always one and the same to the mechanist; but with the constitution of each new plant, and its habits, a new series of difficulties opens up to the cultivator, which only time [258] and experience, and much study, can overcome.

But mechanics also exert much influence upon the culture of the soil, and the rearing of useful plants. And though the greatest achievements of mechanical skill were not first made on her behalf, yet even the steam-engine may be said to have become auxiliary to agriculture; and the thousand ingenious implements which Northampton and York exhibited at their recent anniversaries, showed in how many quarters, and to how large an extent, the purely mechanical and constructive arts are expending their strength in promoting her cause.

On meteorology, which studies the aërial meteors—registers, tabulates, and gives even a local habitation and a form to winds, hurricanes, and typhoons—the progress of the navigator much depends. They hinder or hasten his progress; but he overcomes them at last. But atmospheric changes are vital things to the plant and to the soil. Where no rain falls, the plant withers and dies. If too much falls, it becomes sickly, and fails to yield a profitable crop. If it falls too frequently, though not in too large quantity on the whole, one plant luxuriates and rejoices in the genial season, while another with difficulty produces a half return. If it falls at unseasonable times, the seed is denied admission into the ground in spring, or the harvest refuses to ripen in the autumn.

So the warmth and the sunshine, and the evening dews and the fogs, and the electric condition of the air—its transparency and its varying weight—and prevailing winds and hoar-frosts, and blights and hail-storms, and the influence of the heavenly bodies on all these conditions—with all these things the interests of the plant and the soil demand that scientific agriculture should occupy herself. On every single branch of knowledge to which we have alluded, the power and skill profitably to influence the plant are dependent.

And for what purpose does the plant spring up, the soil feed and nourish it, and the blessed sun mature its seeds? To adorn, no doubt, the surface of the beautiful earth, and to keep alive and propagate its species; but principally to nourish the animal races which supply food and yield their service to man. And, upon the study of this nurture and feeding of the animal races, how much intellect has been expended! Has the stoker who heaps coals upon the engine fire, and turns one tap occasionally to maintain the water-level in the boiler, or another to give passage to the steam—and thus keeps the pile-driver, or the coal-drawer, or the tin mine, or the locomotive, or the steam-boat, or the colossal pumps of the Haarlem lake, in easy and continuous operation—has he, or has the man who curiously watches his operations—have either of them any idea of the long days of intellectual toil—of the sleepless nights, during which invention was on the rack—of the mental dejection and throes of suffering, under which new thoughts were born—of the lives of martyred devotion which have been sacrificed, while, or in order that the machine, which is so obediently simple and easily managed, was or might be brought to its present perfection? Yet all this has been, and has been suffered by men now gone, though the ignorance of the humble workman, little more thoughtful than the iron he works with, fails either to feel or to understand it.

And so too often it is with you who feed, and with you who look at the simple process of feeding stock. As the turnip and the barley, and the oats and the linseed, and the beans, are placed before the almost perfect short-horn, or the graceful Ayrshire, or the untamed West Highlander, or the stately stallion, or the well-bred Leicester or Cheviot ram, or the cushioned and padded Berkshire porker—how little do you know or think of the science, and long skill, and intellectual labour, which have been expended in preparing what is to you so simple! It is not without and beyond the ranks of the agricultural community only that we need look for those who lessen the intellectual character of rural industry, and of the rural life. Too many of our practical men, even of high pretensions, are themselves only the stokers of the agricultural machine; and, like ungrateful and degenerate children, in their ignorance [259] deny the head of the mother that bred and fed them.[2]

What are the functions of the animals you rear—what the composition of their several parts—what the nature of the food they require—what the purposes it serves—what the proportions in which this or that kind of food ought to be given—what the changes, in the kind and proportion, to adapt it to the special habits and constitution of the animal, and the purposes for which it is fed? Are these questions deep? Yet they have all been thought over and long considered, and discussed and disputed about, and volumes have been written upon them; and the chemist, and the physiologist, and the anatomist have, unknown to you, all laboured zealously and without wearying, in your service. And what you now find so simple only proves how much their sciences have done for you. They have fitted the machinery together, you but throw in the fuel and keep up the steam.

With the rearing of stock, and the improving of breeds, practical men are, or fancy themselves, all more or less conversant. How much warm and persevering genius, guided by purely scientific principles, has been expended upon our improved shorthorns and Leicesters! Are the whole lives of a Collins, or a Bakewell, or a Bates, nothing to have been devoted to pursuits like this? That these were practical men, and not scientific, and that what they have done is not a debt due by agriculture to science, is the saying of many. Men who have never read a book can do, by imitation, what the patient services and skill of other men discovered, and perfected, and simplified. But in this they are only stokers. The improvers were sound and cautious experimental physiologists, guided by the most fixed and certain principles of animal physiology; and it is the results at which these men arrived that have become the household words of the stokers of our day, who call them practice in opposition to science. If science could forget her high duties to the Deity, and to the human race, she might leave you and your art to your own devices.

Need we allude to the conditions of animal life—in a state of health, and in a state of disease; to the varied constitutions of different races and varieties; to the several adaptations of food, warmth, and shelter which these demand; and to the extensive course of study which is now required to furnish the necessary resources to the accomplished veterinary surgeon? Yet would any breeder be safe for a moment to invest his money in stock, in a country and climate like ours, had he not, either in books, or in his own head, or in that of a neighbouring veterinarian, the results at which the long study of these branches of knowledge, in connexion with animal health, had discovered and established?

We pursue this topic no further at present. We fearlessly assert—we believe that we have shown—that as much intellect has been scientifically expended in elucidating and perfecting the various operations of rural life, by which those magnificent cattle have been produced by art, as has gone to the elaboration of that wonderful wave-subduing ship. The vulgar mind, awed by bulk and sound, and visible emblems of thought, may dissent—may say that we have not so much to show for it. But the laws of life are sought for and studied—they are not made by science. The Deity has forbidden human skill to develop a sheep into an elephant. Living materials, as we have said, are not plastic like wood and iron; and to change the constitution and character of a breed of animals may require as great and as long-continued [260] an exercise of inventive thought as to perfect an imposing piece of machinery. The real worth of a scientific result is the amount of mind expended in arriving at it, as the real height of an animal in the scale of organisation is measured by the proportionate size of its brain.

But we have our more palpable and sense-satisfying triumphs too. Look at that wide valley, with its snow-clad summits at a distance on either hand, and its glassy river flowing, cribbed and confined, in the lowest bottom. Smiling fields, and well-trimmed hedge-rows, and sheltering plantations, and comfortable dwellings, and a busy population, and abundant cattle, cover its undulating slopes. For miles industrious plenty spreads over a country which the river formerly usurped, and the lake covered, and the rush tufted over, and bog and mossy heath and perennial fogs and drizzling rains rendered inhospitable and chill. But mechanics has chained the river, and drained the lakes, and bogs, and clayey bottoms; and giving thus scope to the application of all the varied practical rules to which science has led, the natural climate has been subdued, disease extirpated, and rich and fertile and happy homes scattered over the ancient waste.

Turn to another country, and a river flows deeply through an arid and desolate plain. Mechanics lifts its waters from their depths, and from a thousand artificial channels directs them over the parched surface. It is as if an enchanter's wand had been stretched over it—the green herbage and the waving corn, companied by all the industries of rural life, spring up as they advance.

Another country, and a green oasis presents itself, busy with life, in the midst of a desert and sandy plain. Do natural springs here gush up, as in the ancient oasis of the Libyan wilderness? It is another of the triumphs of human industry, guided by human thought. Geology, and her sister sciences, are here the pioneers of rural life and fixed habitations. The seat of hidden waters at vast depths was discovered by her. Under her directions mechanics has bored to their sources, and their gushing abundance now spreads fertility around.

Such are more sensible and larger triumphs of progressing rural economy—such as man may well boast of, not only in themselves, but in their consequences; and they may take their place with the gigantic vessel of war, as magnificent results of intellectual effort.

But it is after these first ruder though more imposing conquests over nature have been made, that the demand for mind, for applied science, becomes more frequent, and the results of its application less perceptible. And it is because, in ordinary husbandry, we have not always before us the striking illustrations which arrest the vulgar eye, that prevailing ignorance persists in denying its obligations to scientific research.

The waters which descend from a chain of hills become a striking feature in the geography of a country, when they happen to unite together into a large and magnificent river: they escape unseen and unnoticed if, keeping apart, they flow in countless tiny streamlets to the sea. Yet, thus disunited, they may carry fertility over a whole region, like the Nile when it overflows its banks, or as the river of Damascus straying among its many gardens; while the waters of the great river may only refresh and fertilise its own narrow margins, as the Murray and the Darling do in South Australia, or the deep-bedded rivers of Southern Africa.

Thus much we have devoted to the introductory portion of the Book of the Farm. Those of our readers who wish to follow up farther these scientific views may study Johnston's Lectures, and Elements, of Agricultural Chemistry and Geology: and by the way we would commend, for applied science, these works of Johnston's, and for practical knowledge, the book of Stephens, to the special attention of our emigrating fellow-countrymen, of whom so many in their foreign homes are likely to regret the overflowing sources of information on every conceivable topic with which their home literature and home neighbours supplied them.

Let us now take a look at the body of Mr Stephens' work. These are the days of pictorial embellishment—of speaking directly, and plainly, and [261] palpably to the eye. We have accidentally opened the book at the 217th page. What letterpress description could—so briefly we do not say, for that is out of the question—but so graphically and fully, explain the practice of eating off turnips with sheep, and all its appliances of hurdles and nets, and turnip shears, and feeding troughs, and hay racks, as the single woodcut which this page exhibits? And so the practice of bratting and of stelling sheep is illustrated, and all the forms and fashions of stells in high and low countries (pp. 231 to 236;) the pulling, dressing, and storing of turnips, (190 to 195;) the various modes of ploughing, with their ups and downs, and turnings, and crossings, and gatherings, and feerings, and gore furrows, and mould furrows, and broad furrows, and cross furrows, and samcastings, and gaws, and ribs, and rafters, and slices, and crowns, and centres, and a host of other operations and things familiar to the farmer, but the very names and designations of which are Greek to the common English reader. All these the woodcuts explain beautifully and familiarly to the uninitiated readers, and most usefully to the incipient farmer. How is the rural economy of Great Britain and Ireland, in its best forms, stored up, not only for modern and immediate use, but for the understanding of future ages, by these illustrations! We would specify, in addition to those already referred to, the steam-boiling apparatus in page 320; and the taking down of a stack of corn in page 401; and the feeding of the threshing machine in page 406; and the hand-sowing of corn in page 553; and the pickling of wheat, (chaulage of our Gallic neighbours,) page 536; and the measuring of the grain in the barn, &c., page 419; and the full sacks, as they should be, in the barn, in page 423. To the foreigner, how do these pictures speak of English customs, costumes, and usages; to our Trans-atlantic brethren, of the source of those modes and manners which have at once placed them on an elevation in agricultural art, to which 800 years of intellectual struggle had barely sufficed to lift up their fathers and cousins at home; and to the still British colonial emigrant the precise practices, and latest rural improvements, which it will be his interest, at once, and his pride, to introduce into his adopted land!

How would the Scriptores Rei Rusticæ have gained in usefulness in their own time, how immensely in interest in ours, had they been accompanied by such illustrations as these! The clearness of Columella would have been made more transparent, the obscurity of Palladius lessened; and Cato and Varro would have preserved to us the actual living forms, and costumes, and instruments of the ancient Etruscan times, more clearly than the painted tombs are now revealing to the antiquarian the fashions of their feasts, and games, and funereal rites. We have before us the singularly, richly, and extravagantly, yet graphically and most instructively illustrated book of Georgius Agricola, De Re Metallica (Basil, 1621.) The woodcuts of the Book of the Farm have induced us to turn it up, and it is with ever new admiration that we turn over its old leaves. It has to us the interest of a child's picture-book; and though, as a chef-d'œuvre of illustrative art, the three hundred woodcuts of Stephens do not approach the book of Agricola, yet what a treasure would the work of Ausonius Popma on the rural implements of the ancients—their instrumenta in its widest sense—have been to us, could it have been illustrated when he wrote (1690) in the style of Agricola, and with the minuteness and fulness of Stephens!

The same desire to render minutely intelligible the whole subject treated of, which these woodcuts show, is manifested in the more solid letterpress of the book. It was said of Columella, by Matthew Gessner, that he discoursed "non ut argumentum simplex quod discere amat, dicendo obscuret, sed ut clarissimâ luce perfundat omnia." Such, the reader feels, must have been the aim of the author of this book. In his descriptions, nothing appears to be omitted; nothing is too minute to be passed over. His book exposes not merely the every-day life, but the very inmost life—the habits, and usages, and instruments of the most humble as well as the most important of the operations of the domestic, equally with the field economy [262] of rural life. We do not know if its effects upon our town population will ever be such as Beza ascribes to that of Columella—

Tu vero, Juni, silvestria rura canendo,
Post te ipsas urbes in tua rura trahis;

but certainly, with a few more woodcuts, it would, in minute and graphic illustration, by prints and letterpress be a most worthy companion to the work of Agricola.

The plan of the book is to give a history of the agricultural year, after the manner of the Roman Palladius and our own old Tucker; and the present volume embraces the operations of the skilful farmer in every kind of husbandry during the winter and spring. But, before we come to the heart of the book, hear what Mr Stephens says about the agricultural learning of our landed gentry:—

"Even though he devote himself to the profession of arms or the law, and thereby confer distinction on himself, if he prefer either to the neglect of agriculture he is rendering himself unfit to undertake the duties of a landlord. To become a soldier or a lawyer, he willingly undergoes initiatory drillings and examinations; but to acquire the duties of a landlord before he becomes one, he considers it quite unnecessary to undergo initiatory tuition. These, he conceives, can be learned at any time, and seems to forget that the conducting of a landed estate is a profession, as difficult of thorough attainment as ordinary soldiership or legal lore. The army is an excellent school for confirming, in the young, principles of honour and habits of discipline; and the bar for giving a clear insight into the principles upon which the rights of property are based, and of the relation betwixt landlord and tenant; but a knowledge of practical agriculture is a weightier matter than either for a landlord, and should not be neglected.

"One evil arising from studying those exciting professions before agriculture is, that, however short may have been the time in acquiring them, it is sufficiently long to create a distaste to learn agriculture afterwards practically—for such a task can only be undertaken, after the turn of life, by enthusiastic minds. But as farming is necessarily the profession of the landowner, it should be learned, theoretically and practically, before his education is finished. If he so incline, he can afterwards enter the army or go to the bar, and the exercise of those professions will not efface the knowledge of agriculture previously acquired. This is the proper course, in my opinion, for every young man destined to become a landowner to pursue, and who is desirous of finding employment as long as he has not to exercise the functions of a landlord. Were this course invariably pursued, the numerous engaging ties of a country life would tend in many to extinguish the kindling desire for any other profession. Such a result would be most advantageous for the country; for only consider the effects of the course pursued at present by landowners. It strikes every one as an incongruity for a country gentleman to be unacquainted with country affairs. Is it not strange that he should require inducements to learn his hereditary profession,—to become familiar with the only business which can enable him to enhance the value of his estate, and increase his income? Does it not infer infatuation to neglect becoming well acquainted with the condition of his tenants, by whose exertions his income is raised, and by which knowledge he might confer happiness on many families, and in ignorance of which he may entail lasting misery on many more? It is in this way too many country gentlemen neglect their moral obligations.

"It is a manifest inconvenience to country gentlemen, when taking a prominent part in county matters without a competent knowledge of agriculture, to be obliged to apologise for not having sufficiently attended to agricultural affairs. Such an avowal is certainly candid, but is anything but creditable to those who have to make it. When elected members of the legislature, it is deplorable to find so many of them so little acquainted with the questions which bear directly or indirectly on agriculture. On these accounts, the tenantry are left to fight their own battles on public questions. Were landowners practically acquainted with agriculture, such painful avowals would be unnecessary, and a familiar acquaintance with agriculture would enable the man of cultivated mind at once to perceive its practical bearing on most public questions."

And what he says respectively of the ignorant and skilful factor or agent is quite as deserving of attention. Not merely whole estates, but in some parts of the island, whole counties lag in arrear through the defective education and knowledge of the agents as a class:—

"A still greater evil, because less personal, arises on consigning the management [263] of valuable estates to the care of men as little acquainted as the landowners themselves with practical agriculture. A factor or agent, in that condition, always affects much zeal for the interest of his employer. Fired by it, and possessing no knowledge to form a sound judgment, he soon discovers something he considers wrong among the poorer tenants. Some rent perhaps is in arrear—the strict terms of the lease have been deviated from—the condition of the tenant seems declining. These are favourable symptoms for a successful contention with him. Instead of interpreting the terms of the lease in a generous spirit, the factor hints that the rent would be better secured through another tenant. Explanation of circumstances affecting the actual condition of the farm, over which he has, perhaps, no control,—the inapplicability, perhaps, of peculiar covenants in the lease to the particular circumstances of the farm—the lease having perhaps been drawn up by a person ignorant of agriculture,—are excuses unavailingly offered to a factor confessedly unacquainted with country affairs, and the result ensues in disputes betwixt him and the tenant. To explanations, the landlord is unwilling to listen, in order to preserve intact the authority of the factor; or, what is still worse, is unable to interfere, because of his own inability to judge of the actual state of the case betwixt himself and the tenant, and, of course, the disputes are left to be settled by the originator of them. Thus commence actions at law,—criminations and recriminations,—much alienation of feeling; and at length a proposal for the settlement of matters, at first perhaps unimportant, by the arbitration of practical men. The tenant is glad to submit to an arbitration to save his money; and in all such disputes, being the weaker party, he suffers most in purse and character. The landlord, who ought to have been the protector, is thus converted into the unconscious oppressor of his tenant.

"A factor acquainted with practical agriculture would conduct himself very differently in the same circumstances. He would endeavour to prevent legitimate differences of opinion on points of management from terminating in disputes, by skilful investigation and well-timed compromise. He would study to uphold the honour of both landlord and tenant. He would at once see whether the terms of the lease were strictly applicable to the circumstances of the farm, and, judging accordingly, would check improper deviations from proper covenants, whilst he would make allowances for inappropriate ones. He would soon discover whether the condition of the tenant was caused more by his own mismanagement than by the nature of the farm he occupies, and he would conform his conduct towards him accordingly—encouraging industry and skill, admonishing indolence, and amending the objectionable circumstances of the farm. Such a factor is always highly respected, and his opinion and judgment are entirely confided in by the tenantry. Mutual kindliness of intercourse, therefore, always subsists betwixt such factors and the tenants. No landlord, whether acquainted or unacquainted with farming, especially in the latter case, should confide the management of his estate to any person less qualified."

These extracts are long, but we feel we are rendering the public a service by placing them where they are likely to be widely read.

We have mentioned above that the Book of the Farm is full of that kind of clear home knowledge of rural life which the emigrant in foreign climes at all resembling our own will delight to read and profit by; but it will not supply the place of previous agricultural training. There is much truth and sound practical advice in the following observations:—

"Let every intending settler, therefore, learn agriculture thoroughly before he emigrates; and, if it suits his taste, time, and arrangements, let him study in the colony the necessarily imperfect system pursued by the settlers, before he embarks in it himself; and the fuller knowledge acquired here will enable him, not only to understand the colonial scheme in a short time, but to select the part of the country best suited to his purpose. But, in truth, he has much higher motives for learning agriculture here; for a thorough acquaintance will enable him to make the best use of inadequate means—to know to apply cheap animal instead of dear manual labour,—to suit the crop to the soil, and the labour to the weather;—to construct appropriate dwellings for himself and family, live stock, and provisions; to superintend every kind of work, and to show a familiar acquaintance with them all. These are qualifications which every emigrant may acquire here, but not in the colonies without a large sacrifice of time—and time to a settler thus spent is equal to a sacrifice of capital, whilst eminent qualifications are equivalent to capital itself. This statement may be stigmatised by agricultural settlers who may have succeeded in amassing fortunes [264] without more knowledge of agriculture than what was picked up by degrees on the spot; but such persons are incompetent judges of a statement like this, never having become properly acquainted with agriculture; and however successful their exertions may have proved, they might have realised larger incomes in the time, or as large in a shorter time, had they brought an intimate acquaintance of the most perfect system of husbandry known, to bear upon the favourable circumstances they occupied."

The early winter is spent in ploughing, which we pass over, and mid-winter chiefly in feeding stock, in threshing out the corn, and in attending to composts and dunghills. Preparing and sowing the seed is the most important business of the spring months, to which succeeds the tending of the lambs and ewes, and the preparation of the land for the fallow or root crops. These several operations are treated of in their most minute details, and the latest methods adopted in reference to every point are fully explained.

In the husbandry of the most advanced portions of our island, the turnip occupies a most important place in the estimation of the skilful farmer, whether his dependence for the means of paying his rent be placed upon the profits of his corn crops or of his cattle.

Of the turnip we have now many varieties—though it is only seventy or eighty years since it was first introduced into field culture—at least in those districts of the island in which its importance is most fully recognised. The history of its introduction into Scotland is thus given by Mr Stephens—

"The history of the turnip, like that of other cultivated plants, is obscure. According to the name given to the swede in this country, it is a native of Sweden; the Italian name Navoni di Laponia intimates an origin in Lapland, and the French names Chou de Lapone, Chou de Suède, indicate an uncertain origin. Sir John Sinclair says, 'I am informed that the swedes were first introduced into Scotland anno 1781-2, on the recommendation of Mr Knox, a native of East Lothian, who had settled at Gottenburg, whence he sent some of the seeds to Dr Hamilton.' There is no doubt the plant was first introduced into Scotland from Sweden, but I believe its introduction was prior to the date mentioned by Sir John Sinclair. The late Mr Airth, Mains of Dunn, Forfarshire, informed me that his father was the first farmer who cultivated swedes in Scotland, from seeds sent him by his eldest son, settled in Gottenburg, when my informant, the youngest son of a large family, was a boy of about ten years of age. Whatever may be the date of its introduction, Mr Airth cultivated them in 1777; and the date is corroborated by the silence preserved by Mr Wight regarding its culture by Mr Airth's father when he undertook the survey of the state of husbandry in Scotland, in 1773, at the request of the Commissioners of the Annexed Estates, and he would not have failed to report so remarkable a circumstance as the culture of so useful a plant, so that it was unknown prior to 1773. Mr Airth sowed the first portion of seed he received in beds in the garden, and transplanted the plants in rows in the field, and succeeded in raising good crops for some years, before sowing the seed directly in the fields."

The weight of a good turnip crop—not of an extraordinary crop, which some persons can succeed in raising, and the accounts of which others only refuse to credit—is a point of much importance; and it is so, not merely to the farmer who possesses it, but to the rural community at large. The conviction that a certain given weight is a fair average crop in well-farmed land, where it does not exceed his own, will be satisfactory to the industrious farmer; while it will serve as a stimulus to those whose soil, or whose skill, have hitherto been unable to raise so large a weight. According to our author—

"A good crop of swede turnips weighs from 30 to 35 tons per imperial acre.

"A good crop of yellow turnips weighs from 30 to 32 tons per imperial acre.

"A good crop of white globe turnips weighs from 30 to 40 tons per imperial acre."

Of all kinds of turnips, therefore, from 30 to 40 tons per imperial acre are a good crop.

The readers of agricultural journals must have observed that, of late years, the results of numerous series of experiments have been published. Among those that have been made upon turnips, he will have noticed also that the crop, in about nine cases out of ten, is under twenty tons; that these crops vary, for the most part, between nine and sixteen tons; and [265] that some farmers are not ashamed to publish to the world, that they are content with crops of from seven to ten tons of turnips an acre. Where is our skill in the management of turnip soils, if, in the average of years, such culture and crops satisfy any considerable number of our more intelligent tenantry? We know that soil, and season, and locality, and numerous accidents, affect the produce of this crop; but the margin between the actual and the possible is far too wide to be accounted for in this way. More skill, more energy, more expenditure in draining, liming, and manuring—a wider diffusion of our practical and scientific agricultural literature—these are the means by which the wide margin is to be narrowed; by which what is in the land is to be brought out of the land, and thereby the farmer made more comfortable, and the landlord more rich.

The subject of sheep and cattle feeding is very important, and very interesting, and our book is rich in materials which would provoke us to discuss it at some length, did our limits admit of it. We must be content, however, with a few desultory extracts.

The following, in regard to sheep feeding upon turnips, is curious, and, in our opinion, requires repetition:—

"A curious and unexpected result was brought to light by Mr Pawlett, and is thus related in his own words,—'Being aware that it was the custom of some sheep-breeders to wash the food,—such as turnips, carrots, and other roots,—for their sheep, I was induced also to try the system; and as I usually act cautiously in adopting any new scheme, generally bringing it down to the true standard of experience, I selected for the trial two lots of lambs. One lot was fed, in the usual manner, on carrots and swedes unwashed; the other lot was fed exactly on the same kinds of food, but the carrots and swedes were washed very clean every day: they were weighed before trial, on the 2d December, and again on the 30th December, 1835. The lambs fed with the unwashed food gained each 7½ lb., and those on the washed gained 4¾ lb. each; which shows that those lambs which were fed in the usual way, without having their food washed, gained the most weight in a month by 2¾ lb. each lamb. There appears to me no advantage in this method of management—indeed animals are fond of licking the earth, particularly if fresh turned up; and a little of it taken into the stomach with the food must be conducive to their health, or nature would not lead them to take it.'"

Another experiment on the fattening properties of different breeds of sheep, under similar treatment, quoted from the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, is also deserving the attention of our readers:—

"Experiments were made in 1844-5 on the Earl of Radnor's farm at Coleshill, on the comparative fattening properties of different breeds of sheep under the same treatment. The sheep consisted of Leicesters, South-downs, half-breds,—a cross between the Cotswold and South-down—and Cotswolds. The sheep, being then lambs, were divided into lots of three each of each breed, and were grazed four months, from 29th August 1844 to 4th January 1845, when they were put on hay and swedes for three months, from 4th January to the 31st of March following. While on grass, the different breeds gained in weight as follows:—

  lb.   lb.
The Leicesters being 46 each, gained 10½ each.
South-downs 47 " 11
Half-breds 44½ " 12
Cotswolds 56½ " 10½"

It is one of the most delicate qualifications connected with the stock-feeder's art to be able to select that stock, and that variety of it, which, under all the circumstances in which he is placed, will give him the largest return in money—hence every experiment like the above, if well conducted, is deserving of his close attention. At the same time, in rural experiments, more almost than in any other, the number of elements which interfere with the result, and may modify it, is so great, that too much confidence ought not to be placed upon single trials. Repeated results of one kind must be obtained, before a farmer can be justified in spending much money on the faith of them.

In turning to the winter feeding of cattle upon turnips and other food—a subject important enough to justify Mr Stephens in devoting forty of his closely printed pages to it—we are reminded of a character of this book which we like very much, which squares admirably with our own idea of neatness, order, and method, and which we heartily commend to the [266] attention of our farming friends: this is the full and minute description he gives of the duties of every class of servants upon the farm, of the necessity of having these duties regularly and methodically performed, and of the way in which the master may bring this about.

The cattle-man is an important person in the winter feeding of cattle; he therefore commences this section with an account of the duties and conduct of this man. Even his dress he describes; and the following paragraph shows his reason for drawing the young farmer's attention to it:—

"The dress of a cattle-man is worth attending to, as regards its appropriateness for his business. Having so much straw to carry on his back, a bonnet or round-crowned hat is the most convenient head-dress for him; but what is of more importance when he has charge of a bull, is to have his clothes of a sober hue, free of gaudy or strongly-contrasted colours, especially red, as that colour is peculiarly offensive to bulls. It is with red cloth and flags that the bulls in Spain are irritated to action at their celebrated bull-fights. Instances are in my remembrance of bulls turning upon their keepers, not because they were habited in red, but from some strongly contrasted bright colours. It was stated that the keeper of the celebrated bull Sirius, belonging to the late Mr Robertson of Ladykirk, wore a red nightcap on the day the bull attacked and killed him. On walking with a lady across a field, my own bull—the one represented in the plate of the Short-horn Bull, than which a more gentle and generous creature of his kind never existed—made towards us in an excited state; and for his excitement I could ascribe no other cause than the red shawl worn by the lady, for as soon as we left the field he resumed his wonted quietness. I observed him excited, on another occasion, in his hammel, when the cattle-man—an aged man, who had taken charge of him for years—attended him one Sunday forenoon in a new red nightcap, instead of his usual black hat. Be the cause of the disquietude in the animal what it may, it is prudential in a cattle-man to be habited in a sober suit of clothes."

Then, after insisting upon regularity of time in everything he does, following the man through a whole day's work, describing all his operations, and giving figures of all his tools,—his graip, his shovel, his different turnip choppers, his turnip-slicer, his wheel-barrow, his chaff-cutters, his linseed bruisers, and his corn-crushers,—he gives us the following illustration of the necessity of regularity and method, and of the way to secure them:—

"In thus minutely detailing the duties of the cattle-man, my object has been to show you rather how the turnips and fodder should be distributed relatively than absolutely; but whatever hour and minute the cattle-man finds, from experience, he can devote to each portion of his work, you should see that he performs the same operation at the same time every day. By paying strict attention to time, the cattle will be ready for and expect their wonted meals at the appointed times, and will not complain until they arrive. Complaints from his stock should be distressing to every farmer's ears, for he may be assured they will not complain until they feel hunger; and if allowed to hunger they will not only lose condition, but render themselves, by discontent, less capable of acquiring it when the food happens to be fully given. Wherever you hear lowings from cattle, you may safely conclude that matters are conducted there in an irregular manner. The cattle-man's rule is a simple one, and easily remembered,—Give food and fodder to cattle at fixed times, and dispense them in a fixed routine. I had a striking instance of the bad effects of irregular attention to cattle. An old staid labourer was appointed to take charge of cattle, and was quite able and willing to undertake the task. He got his own way at first, as I had observed many labouring men display great ingenuity in arranging their work. Lowings were soon heard from the stock in all quarters, both in and out of doors, which intimated the want of regularity in the cattle-man; whilst the poor creature himself was constantly in a state of bustle and uneasiness. To put an end to this disorderly state of things, I apportioned his entire day's work by his own watch; and on implicitly following the plan, he not only soon satisfied the wants of every animal committed to his charge, but had abundant leisure to lend a hand to anything that required his temporary assistance. His old heart overflowed with gratitude when he found the way of making all his creatures happy; and his kindness to them was so undeviating, they would have done whatever he liked."

And the money profit which this attention to regularity will give, in addition to the satisfaction which attends it, is thus plainly set down:— [267]

"Let us reduce the results of bad management to figures. Suppose you have three sets of beasts, of different ages, each containing 20 beasts—that is, 60 in all—and they get as many turnips as they can eat. Suppose that each of these beasts acquires only half a pound less live weight every day than they would under the most proper management, and this would incur a loss of 30 lbs. a-day of live weight, which, over 180 days of the fattening season, will make the loss amount to 5400 lbs. of live weight; or, according to the common rules of computation, 3240 lbs., or 231 stones, of dead weight at 6s. the stone, £69, 6s.—a sum equal to more than five times the wages received by the cattle-man. The question, then, resolves itself into this—whether it is not for your interest to save this sum annually, by making your cattle-man attend your cattle according to a regular plan, the form of which is in your own power to adopt and pursue?"

We must pass over the entire doctrine of prepared food, which has lately occupied so much attention, and has been so ably advocated by Mr Warner, Mr Marshall, Mr Thompson, and which, among others, has been so successfully practised by our friend Mr Hutton of Sowber Hill in Yorkshire. We only quote, by the way, a curious observation of Mr Robert Stephenson of Whitelaw in East-Lothian:

"'We shall conclude,' he says, 'by relating a singular fact'—and a remarkable one it is, and worth remembering—'that sheep on turnips will consume nearly in proportion to cattle, weight for weight; that is, 10 sheep of 14 lbs. a-quarter, or 40 stones in all, will eat nearly the same quantity of turnips as an ox of 40 stones; but turn the ox to grass, and 6 sheep will be found to consume an equal quantity. This great difference may perhaps,' says Mr Stephenson, and I think truly, 'be accounted for by the practice of sheep cropping the grass much closer and oftener than cattle, and which, of course, prevents its growing so rapidly with them as with cattle.'"

The treatment of farm horses in winter is under the direction of the ploughman, whose duties are first described, after which the system of management and feeding of farm and saddle horses is discussed at a length of thirty pages.

Among other pieces of curious information which our author gives us is the nomenclature of the animals he treats of, at their various ages. This forms a much larger vocabulary than most people imagine, and comprises many words of which four-fifths of our population would be unable to tell the meaning.

Thus, of the sheep he informs us—

"A new-born sheep is called a lamb, and retains the name until weaned from its mother and able to support itself. The generic name is altered according to the sex and state of the animal; when a female it is a ewe-lamb, when a male tup-lamb, and this last is changed to hogg-lamb when it undergoes emasculation.

"After a lamb has been weaned, until the first fleece is shorn from its back, it receives the name of hogg, which is also modified according to the sex and state of the animal, a female being a ewe-hogg, a male a tup-hogg, and a castrated male a wether-hogg. After the first fleece has been shorn, another change is made in the nomenclature; the ewe-hogg then becomes a gimmer, the tup-hogg a shearling-tup, and the wether-hog a dinmont, and these names are retained until the fleece is shorn a second time.

"After the second shearing another change is effected in all these names; the gimmer is then a ewe if she is in lamb, but if not, a barren gimmer and if never put to the ram a eild gimmer. The shearling tup is then a 2-shear tup, and the dinmont is a wether, but more correctly a 2-shear wether.

"A ewe three times shorn is a twinter ewe, (two-winter ewe;) a tup is a 3-shear tup; and a wether still a wether, or more correctly a 3-shear wether—which is an uncommon name among Leicester sheep, as the castrated sheep of that breed are rarely kept to that age.

"A ewe four times shorn is a three winter ewe, or aged ewe; a tup, an aged tup, a name he retains ever after, whatever his age, but they are seldom kept beyond this age; and the wether is now a wether properly so called.

"A tup and ram are synonymous terms.

"A ewe that has borne a lamb, when it fails to be with lamb again is a tup-eill or barren ewe. After a ewe has ceased to give milk she is a yeld-ewe.

"A ewe when removed from the breeding flock is a draft ewe, whatever her age may be; gimmers put aside as unfit for breeding are draft gimmers, and the lambs, dinmonts or wethers, drafted out of the fat or young stock are sheddings, tails, or drafts.

"In England a somewhat different nomenclature prevails. Sheep bear the name of lamb until eight months old, after which they are ewe and wether teggs until once clipped. Gimmers are theares until [268] they bear the first lamb, when they are ewes of 4-teeth, next year ewes of 6-teeth, and the year after full-mouthed ewes. Dinmonts are called shear hoggs until shorn of the fleece, when they are 2-shear wethers, and ever after are wethers."

The names of cattle are a little less complicated.

"The names given to cattle at their various ages are these:—A new-born animal of the ox-tribe is called a calf, a male being a bull-calf, a female a quey-calf, heifer-calf, or cow-calf; and a castrated male calf is a stot-calf, or simply a calf. Calf is applied to all young cattle until they attain one year old, when they are year-olds or yearlingsyear-old bull, year-old quey or heifer, year-old stot. Stot, in some places, is a bull of any age.

"In another year they are 2-year old bull, 2-year-old quey or heifer, 2-year-old-stot or steer. In England females are stirks from calves to 2-year-old, and males steers; in Scotland both young male and females are stirks. The next year they are 3-year-old bull, in England 3-year-old female a heifer, in Scotland a 3-year-old quey, and a male is a 3-year-old stot or steer.

"When a quey bears a calf, it is a cow, both in Scotland and England. Next year the bulls are aged; the cows retain the name ever after, and the stots or steers are oxen, which they continue to be to any age. A cow or quey that has received the bull is served or bulled, and is then in calf, and in that state these are in England in-calvers. A cow that suffers abortion slips its calf. A cow that has either missed being in calf, or has slipped calf, is eill; and one that has gone dry of milk is a yeld-cow. A cow giving milk is a milk or milch-cow. When two calves are born at one birth, they are twins; if three, trins. A quey calf of twins of bull and quey calves, is a free martin, and never produces young, but exhibits no marks of a hybrid or mule.

"Cattle, black cattle, horned cattle, and neat cattle, are all generic names for the ox tribe, and the term beast is a synonyme.

"An ox without horns is dodded or humbled.

"A castrated bull is a segg. A quey-calf whose ovaries have been obliterated, to prevent her breeding, is a spayed heifer or quey."

Those of the horse are fewer, and more generally known—

"The names commonly given to the different states of the horse are these:—The new-born one is called a foal, the male being a colt foal, and the female a filly foal. After being weaned, the foals are called simply colt or filly, according to the sex, which the colt retains until broken in for work, when he is a horse or gelding which he retains all his life; and the filly is then changed into mare. When the colt is not castrated he is an entire colt; which name he retains until he serves mares, when he is a stallion or entire horse; when castrated he is a gelding; and it is in this state that he is chiefly worked. A mare, when served, is said to be covered by or stinted to a particular stallion; and after she has borne a foal she is a brood mare, until she ceases to bear, when she is a barren mare or eill mare; and when dry of milk, she is yeld. A mare, while big with young, is in foal. Old stallions are never castrated."

Those of the pig are as follows—

"When new-born, they are called sucking pigs, or simply pigs; and the male is a boar pig, the female sow pig. A castrated male, after it is weaned, is a shot or hog. Hog is the name mostly used by naturalists, and very frequently by writers on agriculture; but, as it sounds so like the name given to young sheep, (hogg,) I shall always use the terms pig and swine for the sake of distinction. The term hog is said to be derived from a Hebrew noun, signifying 'to have narrow eyes,' a feature quite characteristic of this species of animal. A spayed female is a cut sow pig. As long as both sorts of cut pigs are small and young, they are porkers or porklings. A female that has not been cut, and before it bears young, is an open sow; and an entire male, after being weaned, is always a boar or brawn. A cut boar is a brawner. A female that has taken the boar is said to be lined; when bearing young she is a brood sow; and when she has brought forth pigs she has littered or farrowed, and her family of pigs at one birth form a litter or farrow of pigs."

The diseases of cattle, horses, pigs, and poultry, are treated of—their management in disease, that is, as well as in health. And it is one of the merits of Mr Stephens that he has taken such pains in getting up his different subjects—that he seems as much at home in one department of his art as in another; and we follow him with equal confidence in his description of field operations, of servant-choosing and managing, of cattle-buying, tending, breeding, feeding, butchering, and even cooking and eating—for he is cunning in these last points also.[269]

His great predecessor Tucker prided himself, in his "Five hundred points," in mixing up huswifry with husbandry:—

"In husbandry matters, where Pilcrow[3] ye find,
That verse appertaineth to Huswif'ry kind;
So have ye more lessons, if there ye look well,
Than huswif'ry book doth utter or tell."

Following Tucker's example, our author scatters here and there throughout his book much useful information for the farmer's wife; and for her especial use, no doubt, he has drawn up his curious and interesting chapter on the treatment of fowls in winter. To show how minute his knowledge is upon this point, and how implicitly therefore he may be trusted in greater matters, we quote the following:—

"Every yellow-legged chicken should be used, whether male or female—their flesh never being so fine as the others." "Young fowls may either be roasted or boiled, the male making the best roasted, and the female the neatest boiled dish." "The criterion of a fat hen, when alive, is a plump breast, and the rump feeling thick, fat, and firm, on being handled laterally between the finger and thumb."

"Of a fat goose the mark is, plumpness of muscle over the breast, and thickness of rump when alive; and in addition, when dead and plucked, of a uniform covering of white fat under a fine skin on the breast." "Geese are always roasted in Britain, though a boiled goose is not an uncommon dish in Ireland; and their flesh is certainly much heightened in flavour by a stuffing of onions, and an accompaniment of apple sauce."

We suppose a boiled goose must be especially tasteless, as we once knew an old schoolmaster on the North Tyne, whose very stupid pupils were always christened boiled geese.

The threshing and winnowing of grain, which forms so important a part of the winter operations of a farm, naturally lead our author to describe and figure the different species of corn plants and their varieties, and to discuss their several nutritive values, the geographical range and distribution of each, and the special uses or qualities of the different varieties.

Widely spread and known for so many ages, the home or native country of our cereal plants is not only unknown, but some suppose the several species, like the varieties of the human race, to have all sprung from a common stock.

"It is a very remarkable circumstance, as observed by Dr Lindley, that the native country of wheat, oats, barley, and rye should be entirely unknown; for although oats and barley were found by Colonel Chesney, apparently wild, on the banks of the Euphrates, it is doubtful whether they were not the remains of cultivation. This has led to an opinion, on the part of some persons, that all our cereal plants are artificial productions, obtained accidentally, but retaining their habits, which have become fixed in the course of ages."

Whatever may be the original source of our known species of grain, and of their numerous varieties, it cannot be doubted that their existence, at the present time, is a great blessing to man. Of wheat there are upwards of a hundred and fifty known varieties, of barley upwards of thirty, and of oats about sixty. While the different species—wheat, barley, and oats—are each specially confined to large but limited regions of the earth's surface, the different varieties adapt themselves to the varied conditions of soil and climate which exist within the natural geographical region of each, and to the different uses for which each species is intended to be employed.

Thus the influence of variety upon the adaptation of the oat to the soil, climate, and wants of a given locality, is shown by the following observations:—

"The Siberian oat is cultivated in the poorer soils and higher districts, resists the force of the wind, and yields a grain well adapted for the support of farm-horses. The straw is fine and pliable, and makes an excellent dry fodder for cattle and horses, the saccharine matter in the joints being very sensible to the taste. It comes early to maturity, and hence its name."


The Tartarian oat, from the peculiarity of its form, and from its "possessing a beard, is of such a hardy nature as to thrive in soils and climates where the other grains cannot be raised. It is much cultivated in England, and not at all in Scotland. It is a coarse grain, more fit for horse-food than to make into meal. The grain is dark coloured and awny; the straw coarse, harsh, brittle, and rather short."

The reader will see from this extract that the English "food for horses" is, in reality, not the same thing as the "chief o' Scotia's food;" and that a little agricultural knowledge would have prevented Dr Johnson from exhibiting, in the same sentence, an example of both his ignorance and his venom.

Variety affects appearance and quality; and how these are to be consulted in reference to the market in which the grain is to be sold, may be gathered from the following:—

"When wheat is quite opaque, indicating not the least translucency, it is in the best state for yielding the finest flour—such flour as confectioners use for pastry; and in this state it will be eagerly purchased by them at a large price. Wheat in this state contains the largest proportion of fecula or starch, and is therefore best suited to the starch-maker, as well as the confectioner. On the other hand, when wheat is translucent, hard, and flinty, it is better suited to the common baker than the confectioner and starch manufacturer, as affording what is called strong flour, that rises boldly with yeast into a spongy dough. Bakers will, therefore, give more for good wheat in this state than in the opaque; but for bread of finest quality the flour should be fine as well as strong, and therefore a mixture of the two conditions of wheat is best suited for making the best quality of bread. Bakers, when they purchase their own wheat, are in the habit of mixing wheat which respectively possesses those qualities; and millers who are in the habit of supplying bakers with flour, mix different kinds of wheat, and grind them together for their use. Some sorts of wheat naturally possess both these properties, and on that account are great favourites with bakers, though not so with confectioners; and, I presume, to this mixed property is to be ascribed the great and lasting popularity which Hunter's white wheat has so long enjoyed. We hear also of 'high mixed' Danzig wheat, which has been so mixed for the purpose, and is in high repute amongst bakers. Generally speaking, the purest coloured white wheat indicates most opacity, and, of course, yields the finest flour; and red wheat is most flinty, and therefore yields the strongest flour: a translucent red wheat will yield stronger flour than a translucent white wheat, and yet a red wheat never realises so high a price in the market as white—partly because it contains a larger proportion of refuse in the grinding, but chiefly because it yields less fine flour, that is, starch."

In regard to wheat, it has been supposed, that the qualities referred to in the above extract, as especially fitting certain varieties for the use of the confectioner, &c., were owing to the existence of a larger quantity of gluten in these kinds of grain. Chemical inquiry has, however, nearly dissipated that idea, and with it certain erroneous opinions, previously entertained, as to their superior nutritive value. Climate and physiological constitution induce differences in our vegetable productions, which chemical research may detect and explain, but may never be able to remove or entirely control.

The bran, or external covering of the grain of wheat, has recently also been the subject of scientific and economical investigation. It has been proved, by the researches of Johnston, confirmed by those of Miller and others, that the bran of wheat, though less readily digestible, contains more nutritive matter than the white interior of the grain. Brown, or household bread, therefore, which contains a portion of the bran, is to be preferred, both for economy and for nutritive quality, to that made of the finest flour.

Upon the economy of mixing potato with wheaten flour, and of home-made bread, Mr Stephens has the following:—

"It is assumed by some people, that a mixture of potatoes amongst wheaten flour renders bread lighter and more wholesome. That it will make bread whiter, I have no doubt; but I have as little doubt that it will render it more insipid, and it is demonstrable that it makes it dearer than wheaten flour. Thus, take a bushel of 'seconds' flour, weighing 56 lbs. at 5s. 6d. A batch of bread, to consist of 21 lbs., will absorb as much water, and require as much yeast and salt, as will yield 7 loaves, of 4 lbs. each, for 2s. 4d., or 4d. [271] per loaf. 'If, instead of 7 lbs. of the flour, the same weight of raw potatoes be substituted, with the hope of saving by the comparatively low price of the latter article, the quantity of bread that will be yielded will be but a trifle more than would have been produced from 14 lbs. of flour only, without the addition of the 7 lbs. of potatoes; for the starch of this root is the only nutritive part, and we have proved that but one-seventh or one-eighth of it is contained in every pound, the remainder being water and innutritive matter. Only 20 lbs. of bread, therefore, instead of 28 lbs., will be obtained; and this, though white, will be comparatively flavourless, and liable to become dry and sour in a few days; whereas, without the latter addition, bread made in private families will keep well for 3 weeks, though, after a fortnight, it begins to deteriorate, especially in the autumn.' The calculation of comparative cost is thus shown:—

Flour, 14 lbs., say at 1¼d. per lb., = 1s. 5½d.
Potatoes, 7 lbs., say at 5s. per sack, = 0 2
Yeast and fuel, = 0
    2s. 0d.

The yield, 20 lbs., or 5 loaves of 4 lbs. each, will be nearly 5d. each, which is dearer than the wheaten loaves at 4d. each, and the bread, besides, of inferior quality.

"'There are persons who assert—for we have heard them—that there is no economy in baking at home. An accurate and constant attention to the matter, with a close calculation of every week's results for several years—a calculation induced by the sheer love of investigation and experiment—enables us to assure our readers, that a gain is invariably made of from 1½d. to 2d. on the 4 lb. loaf. If all be intrusted to servants, we do not pretend to deny that the waste may neutralise the profit; but, with care and investigation, we pledge our veracity that the saving will prove to be considerable.' These are the observations of a lady well known to me."

In the natural history of barley the most remarkable fact is, the high northern latitudes in which it can be successfully cultivated. Not only does it ripen in the Orkney and Shetland and Faroe Islands, but on the shores of the White Sea; and near the North Cape, in north latitude 70°, it thrives and yields nourishment to the inhabitants. In Iceland, in latitude 63° to 66° north, it ceases to ripen, not because the temperature is too low, but because rains fall at an unseasonable time, and thus prevent the filling ear from arriving at maturity.

The oat is distinguished by its remarkable nutritive quality, compared with our other cultivated grains. This has been long known in practice in the northern parts of the island, where it has for ages formed the staple food of the mass of the population, though it was doubted and disputed in the south so much, as almost to render the Scotch ashamed of their national food. Chemistry has recently, however, set the matter at rest, and is gradually bringing oatmeal again into general favour. We believe that the robust health of many fine families of children now fed upon it, in preference to wheaten flour, is a debt they owe, and we trust will not hereafter forget, to chemical science.

On oatmeal Mr Stephens gives us the following information:—

"The portion of the oat crop consumed by man is manufactured into meal. It is never called flour, as the millstones are not set so close in grinding it as when wheat is ground, nor are the stones for grinding oats made of the same material, but most frequently only of sandstone—the old red sandstone or greywacke. Oats, unlike wheat, are always kiln-dried before being ground; and they undergo this process for the purpose of causing the thick husk, in which the substance of the grain is enveloped, to be the more easily ground off, which it is by the stones being set wide asunder; and the husk is blown away, on being winnowed by the fanner, and the grain retained, which is then called groats. The groats are ground by the stones closer set, and yield the meal. The meal is then passed through sieves, to separate the thin husk from the meal. The meal is made in two states: one fine, which is the state best adapted for making into bread, in the form called oat-cake or bannocks; and the other is coarser or rounder ground, and is in the best state for making the common food of the country people—porridge, Scottice, parritch. A difference of custom prevails in respect to the use of these two different states of oatmeal, in different parts of the country, the fine meal being best liked for all purposes in the northern, and the round or coarse meal in the southern counties; but as oat-cake is chiefly eaten in the north, the meal is there made to suit the purpose of bread rather than of porridge; whereas, in the south, bread is made from another grain, and oatmeal is there used only as porridge. There is no doubt that the round meal makes the best porridge, when properly made—that is, seasoned with [272] salt, and boiled as long as to allow the particles to swell and burst, when the porridge becomes a pultaceous mass. So made, with rich milk or cream, few more wholesome dishes can be partaken by any man, or upon which a harder day's work can be wrought. Children of all ranks in Scotland are brought up on this diet, verifying the poet's assertion—

"The halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food."


Forfarshire has long been famed for the quality of its brose and oat-cake, while the porridge of the Borders has as long been equally famous. It is so everywhere, the sharp soil producing the finest cake-meal, and clay land the best meal for boiling. Of meal from the varieties of the oat cultivated, that of the common Angus oat is the most thrifty for a poor man, though its yield in meal is less in proportion to the bulk of corn."

Much valuable information is given on the management of manure-heaps, and the forming of composts in winter. We especially recommend to the reader's attention section 2043, which is too long to extract. Railways have done much to benefit the farmer: in speaking of composts, our author gives us the following example of a local injury produced by them:—

"In the vicinity of villages where fish are cured and smoked for market, refuse of fish heads and guts make an excellent compost with earth. Near Eyemouth and Burnmouth, on the Berwickshire coast, 30 barrels of fish refuse, with as much earth from the head-ridges as will completely cover the heap, are sufficient for an imperial acre. The barrel contains 30 gallons, and 4 barrels make a cart-load, and the barrel sells for 1s. 6d. From 400 to 600 barrels may be obtained for each farm in the neighbourhood, in the course of the season. Since the opening of the North British railway, the curing of the fish is given up, much to the loss of the farmers in that locality; and the fishermen now send, by the railway, the fish in a fresh state to the larger towns at a distance. Thus, railways produce advantage to some, whilst they cause loss to others. In the northern counties of Scotland, fish refuse is obtained in large quantities during the herring fishing season. On the coast of Cornwall, the pilchard fishing affords a large supply of refuse for composts."

In regard to the calving of cows, to milking, and to the rearing of calves, we have information as full, as minute, and as easily conveyed, as on any of the other subjects which have hitherto engaged our attention. When treating of the diseases to which cows, on calving, are subject, we have been interested with the following case:—

"I may here mention an unaccountable fatality which overtook a short-horn cow of mine, in Forfarshire, immediately after calving. She was an extraordinary milker, giving not less than thirty quarts a-day in summer on grass; but what was more extraordinary, for two calvings the milk never dried up, but continued to flow to the very day of calving, and after that event returned in increased quantity. In the third year she went naturally dry for about one month prior to the day of reckoning; every precaution, however, was taken that the milk should dry up without giving her any uneasiness. She calved in high health, the milk returned as usual in a great flush after calving, but it was impossible to draw it from the udder; not a teat would pass milk, all the four being entirely corded. Quills were first introduced into the teats; and then tubes of larger size were pushed up into the body of the udder. A little milk ran out of only one of them—hope revived; but it soon stopped running, and all the art that could be devised by a skilful shepherd proved unavailing to draw milk from the udder; rubbing and softening the udder with goose-fat, making it warmer with warm water—all to no purpose. To render the case more distressing, there was not a veterinary surgeon in the district. At length the udder inflamed, mortified, and the cow died in the most excruciating agony on the third day, from being in the highest state of health, though not in high condition, as her milking propensity usually kept her lean. No loss of the kind ever affected my mind so much—that nothing could be done to relieve the distress of an animal which could not help itself. I was told afterwards by a shepherd, to whom I related the case, that I should have cut off all the teats, and although the horrid operation would, of course, have destroyed her for a milk cow, she might have been saved for feeding. He had never seen a cow so operated on; but it suggested itself to him in consequence of having been obliged at times to cut off the teats of ewes to save their lives. The suggestion I think is good. The cow was bred by Mr Currie, when at Brandon in Northumberland."

Is there really no remedy for so distressing a case as this but that which his shepherd recommended? He might, for the benefit of his readers, have consulted our friend Professor [273] Dick, whose opinions he so frequently and so deservedly quotes.

The following paragraph is very striking, as showing the cruel absurdities which ignorance will sometimes not only perpetrate, but actually establish, as a kind of custom in a country.

"Tail-ill or Tail-slip.—A very prevalent notion exists in Scotland amongst cattle-men, that when the tail of an ox or of a cow feels soft and supple immediately above the tuft of hair, there is disease in it; and it is called the tail-ill, or tail-slip. The almost invariable remedy is to make large incision with the knife along the under side of the soft part, stuff the wound full of salt and butter, and sometimes tar, and roll it up with a bandage for a few days, and when the application is removed, the animal is declared quite recovered. Now, this notion is an absurdity. There is no such disease as that imputed; and as the poor animal subjected to its cure is thus tormented, the sooner the absurd notion is exposed the better. The notion will not soon be abandoned by the cattle-men; but the farmer ought to forbid the performance of such an operation on any of his cattle without his special permission, and the absurd practice will fall into desuetude."

We have not space for the remainder of this paragraph, which contains Professor Dick's demonstration that no such disease exists as the so-called Tail-ill. Mr Stephens' narrations are more like a tale from the times of witchcraft, when old women were supposed to have the power of bringing disease upon cattle, than of those days of general enlightenment.

In sections 2268 and 2269, there is a recipe for making a cow which has once calved give a full supply of milk all the rest of her life, and which recipe is said to be infallible. This is a bon-bouche, however, which we shall leave our readers to turn up for themselves; and we hope the desire to learn it will induce many of our dairy friends to buy the book.

The following is the mode adopted in fattening calves at Strathaven, in Scotland, where the famous veal has been so long grown, chiefly for the Glasgow market:—

"Strathaven in Scotland has long been famed for rearing good veal for the Glasgow and Edinburgh markets. The dairy farmers there retain the quey calves for maintaining the number of the cows, while they feed the male calves for veal. Their plan is simple, and may be followed anywhere. Milk only is given to the calves, and very seldom with any admixture, and they are not allowed to suck the cows. Some give milk, but sparingly at first, to whet the appetite, and prevent surfeit. The youngest calves get the first drawn milk, or fore-broads, as it is termed, and the older the afterings, even of two or three cows, being the richest portion of the milk. After being three or four weeks old, they get abundance of milk twice a-day. They get plenty of dry litter, fresh air, moderate warmth, and are kept nearly in the dark to check sportiveness. They are not bled during the time they are fed, and a lump of chalk is placed within their reach. They are fed from 4 to 6 weeks, when they fetch from £3 to £4 a-piece; and it is found more profitable to fatten the larger number of calves for that time, to succeed each other, of from 25 lb. to 30 lb. per quarter, than to force a fewer number beyond the state of marketable veal."

The Caledonian Railway now puts this choice veal within the reach of English mouths; and we hope it will, at the same time, add to the prosperity and profits of the Strathaven breeders.

The lambing of ewes, the care of the mothers and offspring, the diseases to which they are subject, as well as the other operations which demand the farmer's care in the months of spring, we must pass by. We could go on commenting and quoting from this book, as we have already done, till an entire number of Maga was filled up. But as this would be preposterous, we stop, earnestly pressing upon our readers to place a copy of this storehouse of rural information in the hands of every practical husbandman, in whose professional skill they are at all interested.

Those who, like ourselves, take an interest in the diffusion of improved agriculture, scientific, and practical—and especially of our own agricultural literature in other countries—will be pleased to learn, not only that the work of which the title is prefixed to the present article, as well as the others upon agricultural chemistry to which we have referred, have made their way into the common stock of the book-stores of the United States, but that the editing of the American [274] reprint of the second edition of the Book of the Farm has been undertaken by our friend Professor Norton, of Yale College, (may his shadow never be less!) so well known and esteemed in Scotland, where he obtained the Highland Society's £50 prize for a chemical examination of our native oat, which was published in their Transactions. He is a worthy representative of the "country of steady habits" to which he belongs; and we hope his countrymen will be discriminating enough to appreciate his own character and scientific labours, as well as the value of the books he undertakes to bring before them.



The frail yellow leaves they are falling
As the wild winds sweep the grove;
Plashy and dank is the sward beneath,
And the sky it is gray above.


Foaming adown the dark rocks,
Dirge-like, the waterfall
Mourns, as if mourning for something gone,
For ever beyond its call.


Sing, redbreast! from the russet spray;
Thy song with the season blends:
For the bees have left us with the blooms,
And the swallows were summer friends.


The hawthorn bare, with berries sere,
And the bramble by the stream,
Matted, with clay on its yellow trails,
Decay's wan emblems seem.


On this slope bank how oft we lay
In shadow of the sycamine tree;
Pause, hoary Eld, and listen now—
'Twas but the roaring of the sea!


Oh, the shouts and the laughter of yore—
How the tones wind round the heart!
Oh, the faces blent with youth's blue skies—
And could ye so depart!


The crow screams back to the wood,
And the sea-mew to the sea,
And earth seems to the foot of man
No resting-place to be.


Search ye the corners of the world,
And the isles beyond the main,
And the main itself, for those who went
To come not back again!


The rest are a remnant scatter'd
Mid the living; and, for the dead,
Tread lightly o'er the churchyard mounds;
Ye know not where ye tread!




The revolutionary year has almost closed; the anniversary of the days of February is at hand. A Year's Republicanism has run the course of its unchecked experience in France: to believe its own boast, it has ridden boldly forward, seated upon public and popular opinion, in the form of the widest, and, upon republican principle, the honest basis of universal suffrage; it has been left to its own full career, unimpeded by enemies either at home or abroad. And what has been the result of the race?—what has been the harvest which the republican soil, so carefully turned over, tilled, and manured, has produced?

It would be a useless task to recapitulate all the different stages of the growth of the so-called fair green tree of liberty, and enumerate all the fruits that it has let drop from time to time, from the earliest days of last spring, to the tempestuous summer month of June; and then, through the duller, heavier, and gloomy months of autumn, to those of winter, which brought a president as a Christmas-box, and which have shown a few scattered gleams of fancied sunshine, cold at the best, and quickly obscured again by thick-coming clouds of dis-accord, misapprehension, and startling opposition of parties. All the world has had these fruits dished up to it—has handled them, examined them, tasted them; and, according to their opinions or prejudices, men have judged their savour bitter or sweet. All that can be said on the subject, for those who have digested them with pleasure, is, that "there's no accounting for tastes." In calculating the value of the year's republicanism which France has treasured up in its history, it is as well, then, to make no further examination into the items, but to look to the sum-total as far as it can be added up and put together, in the present aspect of affairs. In spite of the openly expressed detestation of the provinces to the capital—in spite of the increasing spirit of decentralisation, and the efforts made by the departments to insure a certain degree of importance to themselves—it is still Paris that reigns paramount in its power, and as the influential expression, however false in many respects it may be, of the general spirit of the country. It is upon the aspect of affairs in Paris, then, and all its numerous conflicting elements, that observation must still be directed, in order to make a résumé, as far as it is practicable, of this sum-total of a year's republican rule. The account must necessarily be, more or less, a confused one, for accounts are not strictly kept in Republican Paris—are continually varying in their results, according as the political arithmeticians set about their "casting up"—and are constantly subject to dispute among the accountants: the main figures, composing the sum-total, may, however, be enumerated without any great error, and then they may be put together in their true amount, and according to their real value, by those before whom they are thus laid.

One of the most striking figures in the row, inasmuch as the lateness of the events has made it one of the most prominent, is to be derived from the position and designs of those who declare themselves to be the only true and pure republicans in the anomalous Republic of France, as exemplified by that revolutionary movement which, although it led to no better result than a révolution avortée, takes its date in the history of the Republic beside the more troublous one of May, and the more bloody one of June, as "the affair of the 29th of January." Paris, after the removal of the state of siege, had done its best to put on its physiognomy of past years, had smeared over its wrinkles as best it might, and had made sundry attempts to smile through all this hasty plastering of its poor distorted face. Its shattered commerce still showed many rags and rents; but it had pulled its disordered dress with decency about it, and set it forth in the best lights; it had called foreigners once more around it, to admire it; and they had come at the call, although slowly and with mistrust. It had some hopes of mending its rags, then, and even furbishing up a new fresh toilette, [276] almost as smart as of yore; it danced and sang again, although faintly and with effort. The National Assembly clamoured and fought, it is true; but Paris was grown accustomed to such discordant music, and at most only stopped its ears to it: ministers held their portfolios with ticklish balance, as if about to let them fall; but Paris was determined not to care who dropped portfolios, or who caught them: there were clouds again upon the political horizon, and distant rumblings of a crisis-thunderstorm; but Paris seemed resolved to look out for fine weather. All on a sudden, one bright morning, on the 29th of January, the smile vanished: the troubled physiognomy was again there; the revolutionary air again pervaded it; and foreigners once more, not liking the looks of the convulsed face, began to start back in alarm. The rappel was again beaten, for the turning out of the national guards at the earliest hour of the morning: that drumming, which for many months had filled the air incessantly, again deafened sensitive ears and harassed sensitive nerves. The streets were thronged with troops, marching forwards in thick battalions; while before them retreated some hundreds of those nameless beings, who come no one knows whence, and go no one knows whither—those mysterious beings, peculiar to revolutionary cities, who only appear like a cloud of stinging dust when the wind of the revolution-tempest begins to blow, and who in Paris are either brigands or heroes of barricades, according as the language of the day may go—back, back, grumbling and threatening, into the faubourgs, where they vanished until the gale may blow stormier again, and meet with less resistance. The garden of the Tuileries was closed to the public, and exhibited an armed array once more among its leafless trees; the Champs Elysées had again become a camp and a bivouac; cannon was again posted around the National Assembly. Formidable military posts surrounded every public building; the streets were crowded with the curious; thick knots of men again stood at every corner; people asked once more, "What's on foot now?" but no one at first could answer: they only repeated from mouth to mouth the mysterious words of General Changarnier, that "he who should venture to displace a paving-stone would never again replace it;" and they knew what that meant. Paris was, all at once, its revolutionary self again; and, in some degree, so it remained during the ensuing weeks—with cannon displayed on hazardous points, and the great railway stations of the capital filled with battalions of soldiers, bivouacking upon straw in courts and salles d' attente; and huge military posts at every turn, and thick patrols parading gloomily at night, and palaces and public buildings closed and guarded, just as if retrograde monarchy were about to suppress fervent liberalism, and a "glorious republic" had not been established for a country's happiness wellnigh a year already; just as if republicans, who had conspired darkly a year before, had not obtained all they then clamoured for—a republic based upon institutions resulting from universal suffrage—and were conspiring again. And so it was. A deep-laid conspiracy—a conspiracy of republicans against a republic, which they chose to call deceptive and illusory—was again on foot. They had possessed, for nigh a year, the blessing for which they had conspired, intrigued, and fought; and they conspired, intrigued, and would have fought again. One of the figures, then, to form the total which has to be summed up as the result of a year's republicanism, is—conspiracy; conspiracy more formidable than ever, because more desperate, more bloody-minded in its hopes, more destructive in its designs to all society.

In spite of the denegations of the Red-republican party, and the counter-accusations of their allies the Montagnards in the Assembly, the question of all Paris, "What's on foot now?" was soon answered; and the answer, spite of these same denegations, and counter-accusations, was speedily understood and believed by all France. A conspiracy of the ultra-democrats, Red republicans and Socialists, (all now so shaken up together in one common dark bag of underhand design, that it is impossible to distinguish the shades [277] of such parties,) was on the point of breaking out in the capital: the 29th of January had been fixed upon by the conspirators for their general insurrection. The Red republicans (to include all the factions of the anarchist parties under that title, in which they themselves rejoice, although the designation be derived from "blood") had felt how strong and overpowering had become the clamour raised throughout the land against that National Assembly which had run its course, and was now placed in constant opposition, not only to the president of the republic, as represented by his ministers, but to the general spirit and feeling of the country at large; they were aware, but too feelingly, that, should the Assembly give way before this clamour, in spite of its evidences of resistance, and decree its own dissolution, the elections of a new Legislative Assembly by that universal suffrage which had once been their idol, and was now to be scouted and despised, would inevitably produce what they termed a reactionary, and what they suspected might prove, a counter-revolutionary and monarchic majority; and they had determined, in spite of their defeat in June, to attempt another revolution, in the hope of again surprising the capital by a coup-de-main, and seizing the reins of power into their own hands at once. This conspiracy was affiliated together, in its various branches, by those formidable sociétés secrètes, which, long organised, had been again called into service by the persevering activity of the party, not only in Paris, but in all the larger provincial towns, and for which fresh recruits had been zealously drummed together. A general outbreak all over the country was regulated to explode simultaneously on the 29th of January, or during the following night: that monomania, which has never ceased to possess the minds of the frantic chiefs of the Red-republican party, and which still entertains the vain dream that, if they rise, all the lower classes, or what they call "the people," must rise at their call, to fight in their wild cause, gave them support in their designs. Pretexts for discontent, at the same time, were not wanting. The project of the government for a general suppression of the clubs—a measure which they declared unconstitutional, gave a colour to disaffection and revolt; and hopes that fresh allies would join the insurrection gave the party a bold confidence, which it had not possessed since the days of June. The garde mobile, in fact, had been tampered with. The spirit of these young janissaries of the capital, for the most part but a year ago the mere gamins de Paris, always vacillating and little to be relied upon, spite of their deeds in June, had already been adroitly worked upon by the fostering of that jealousy which subsisted between them and the regular army into a more decided hatred, when a decree of the government for the reorganisation of the corps was interpreted by the designing conspirators into an insult offered to the whole institution, and a preparatory measure to its total dissolution. Such insinuations, carefully fomented among these young troops, led to tumultuous demonstrations of disaffection and discontent. This ferment, so opportune for the designs of the Red republicans, induced them to believe that their hour of struggle and of approaching triumph was at hand: they counted on their new allies; all was ready for the outbreak. But the government was alive to the tempest rising around it; it was determined to do its duty to the country in preventing the storm, rather than in suppressing it when once it should have broken forth. Hence the military preparations which, on the morning of the 29th of January, had once more rendered all Paris a fortress and a camp; hence the warning sound of the rappel, which at an early hour had once more roused all the citizens from their beds, and called alarmed faces forth at windows and upon balconies in the gloom of the dawn; hence the stern commanding words of General Changarnier, and the orders to the troops and the national guards, that any man attempting to raise a stone from the streets should be shot forthwith, and without mercy; hence the consternation with which the outpost allies of the Red republicans hurried back growling to their mysterious dens, wherever such may exist. Prevention was considered [278] better than cure, in spite of the misinterpretations and misapprehensions to which it might be exposed, and by which it was subsequently assailed by the disappointed faction. Arrest then followed upon arrest; upwards of two hundred of the suspected chiefs of the conspiracy were hurried off to prison. Among them were former delegates to the once famous committee of the Luxembourg, whose conduct gave evidence of the results produced by the dangerous utopian theories set forth under the lectureship of M. Louis Blanc, and his noble friend the soi-disant ouvrier Albert. Chiefs of the clubs bore them company in their incarceration; and the ex-Count D'Alton Shee, the ex-élégant of the fashionable salons of Paris, but now the socialist-atheist and anarchist, suffered the same penalty of his actions as leading member of the club "De la Solidarité Républicaine." Turbulent officers of the Garde Mobile underwent a similar fate. Even the national guard was not spared in the person of one of its superior officers, whose agitation and over-zealous movements excited suspicion; and, by the way, in the general summing up, arrest, imprisonment, restriction of liberty, may also take their place in the row as another little figure in the total.

The conspiracy, however, was suppressed; the insurrection failed entirely for the time; and Paris was told that it might be perfectly reassured, and doze quietly again upon its pillow, without any fear that Red-republicanism should again "murder sleep." But Paris, which has not learned yet to recover its old quiet habit of sleeping calmly, and has got too much fever in its system to close its eyes at will, is not to be lulled by such mere sedatives of ministerial assurance. Once roused in startled hurry from its bed again, and seeing the opiate of confidence which was beginning to work its effect in very small doses snatched from its grasp, it cannot calm its nerves at once. It will not be persuaded that the crisis is over, and has passed away for ever; like a child awakened by a nightmare, it looks into all sorts of dark holes and corners, thinking to see the spectre lurking there. It knows what it had to expect from the tender mercies of its pitiless enemies, had they succeeded in their will; what was the programme of a new Red-republican rule—a comité du salut public, the régime of the guillotine, the épuration of suspected aristocrats, the confiscation of the property of emigrants, a tax of three milliards upon the rich, a spoliation of all who "possess," the dissolution of the national guard, the exclusive possession of all arms by the soi-disant people, and—but the list of such new-old measures of ultra-republican government would be too long; it is an old tale often told, and, after all, only a free translation from the measures of other times. Paris, then, knows all this; it knows the fanatic and inexpressible rage of its antagonist, to which the fever of madness lends strength; it allows itself to be told all sorts of fearful tales—how Socialists, in imitation of their London brethren, have hired some thousand apartments in different quarters of the capital, in order to light a thousand fires at once upon a given signal. It goes about repeating the old vague cry—"Nous allons avoir quelque chose;" and, however foolishly exaggerated its alarm, the results it experiences are the same—again want of confidence arising from anxiety, again suspension of trade, again a renewal of misery. The fresh want of confidence, then, with all the attendant evils in its train, may again, as the year of republicanism approaches to its close, be taken as another figure in the sum-total that is sought.

In the midst of this sudden ferment, which has appeared towards the end of the republican year like a tableau final at the conclusion of an act of a drama—hastily thrust forward when the interest of the piece began to languish,—how stands the state of parties in that Assembly which, although it is said—and very correctly, it would appear—no longer to represent the spirit of the country at large, must still be considered as the great axis of the republic, around which all else moves? Always tumultuous, disorderly, and disdainful of those parliamentary forms which could alone insure it the aspect of a dignified deliberative body, the National Assembly, [279] as it sees its last days inevitably approaching—although it retards its dissolution by every quack-doctoring means within its grasp—seems to have plunged, in its throes, into a worse slough of triple confusion, disorder, and uncertainty than ever. Jealous of its dignity, unwilling to quit its power, unwilling—say malicious tongues—to quit its profit, and yet pressed upon by that public opinion which it would vainly attempt to deny, to misinterpret, or to despise, it has shown itself more vacillating, capricious, and childish than ever. It wavers, votes hither and thither, backwards and forwards—now almost inclined to fall into the nets spread for it by the ultra-democratic party, that supports its resistance against all attempts to dissolve it, and upon the point of throwing itself into that party's arms; and now, again, alarmed at the allies to whom it would unite itself, starting back from their embrace, turning round in its majority, and declaring itself against the sense of its former decisions. Now, it offers an active and seemingly spiteful opposition to the government; and now, again, it accepts the first outlet to enable it to turn back upon its course. Now it is sulky, now alarmed at its own sulkiness; now angry, now begging its own pardon for its hastiness. It is like a child that does not know its own mind or temper, and gives way to all the first vagaries that spring into its childish brain: it neglects the more real interests of the country, and loses the country's time in its service, in its eternal interpellations, accusations, recriminations, jealousies, suspicions, and offended susceptibilities; it quarrels, scratches, fights, and breaks its own toys—and all this in the midst of the most inextricable confusion. To do it justice, the Assembly, as represented by its wavering majority, is placed between two stools of apprehension, between which it is continually coming to the ground, and making wofully wry faces: and, between the two, it is not very easy to see how it should preserve a decent equilibrium. On the one hand, it suspects the reactionary, and perhaps counter-revolutionary designs of the moderate party on the right, whose chiefs and leaders have chosen to hold themselves back from any participation in the governmental posts, which they have otherwise coveted and fatally intrigued for, as if they had an arrière-pensée of better and more congenial opportunities in store, and whose reliance in this respect seems equivocal; and it looks upon them as monarchists biding their time. On the other hand, it dreads the Montagnards on the extreme left, with their frantic excesses and violent measures, however much it has looked for their support in the momentous question of the dissolution of the Assembly. It bears no good-will to the president, whose immense majority in the elections has been mainly due to the hopes of the anti-republicans that his advent might lead to a total change of government: it bears still less good-will to the ministers of that president's choice. Between its two fears, then, no wonder that it oscillates like a pendulum. The approach of its final dissolution, which it has at last indefinitely voted, and yet endeavours to retard by fresh obligations for remaining, gives it that character of bitterness which an old coquette may feel when she finds her last hope of conquest slipping indubitably away from her. Without accusing the majority of that desperate clinging to place from interested motives—which the country, however, is continually casting in its teeth—it may be owned that it is not willing to see power wrested from it, when it fears, upon its return to its constituents, it may never find that power placed in its hands again, and seeks every means of prolonging the fatal hour under the pretence of serving the best interests of that country to which it fears to appeal: and to this state of temper, its waspishness, uncertainty, and increasing disorder, may be in some degree attributed.

Of the hopes and designs of the extreme moderate and supposed reactionary party, little can be said, inasmuch as it has kept its thoughts to itself, and not permitted itself to give any open evidences whatever upon the point. But the ardent and impetuous Montagnards are by no means so cautious: their designs, and hopes, and fears, have been clearly [280] enough expressed; and they flash forth continually, as lightnings in the midst of the thunder of their incessant tumult. The allies and representatives, and, if all tales be true, the chiefs of the Red-republican party out of the Assembly—they still cherish the hope of establishing an ultra-democratic republican government, by some means or other—"by foul if fair should fail"—a government of despotic rule by violence—of propagandism by constraint—of systematic anarchy. They still form visions of some future Convention of which they may be the heroes—of a parliamentary tyrannical oligarchy, by which they may enforce their extravagant opinions. Driven to the most flagrant inconsistencies by their false position, they declare themselves also the true and supreme organ—not only of those they call "the people," but of the nation at large; while, at the same time, they affect to despise, and they even denounce as criminal, the general expression of public opinion, as evidenced by universal suffrage. They assume the attitudes of sauveurs de la patrie; and in the next breath they declare that patrie traitre to itself. They vaunt themselves to be the élus de la nation; and they openly express their repugnance to meet again, as candidates for the new legislative assembly, that majority of the nation which they now would drag before the tribunal of republicanism as counter-revolutionary and reactionary. In short, the only universal suffrage to which they would appeal is that of the furious minority of their perverted or hired bands among the dregs of the people. They have thus in vain used every effort to prolong to an indefinite period, or even to render permanent, if possible, the existence of that Assembly which their own party attacked in May, and which they themselves have so often denounced as reactionary. It is the rock of salvation upon which they fix their frail anchor of power, in default of that more solid and elevated foundation for their sway, which they are well aware can now only be laid for them by the hands of insurgents, and cemented by the blood of civil strife in the already blood-flooded streets of Paris. With the same necessary inconsistency which marks their whole conduct, they fix their hopes of advent to power upon the overthrow of the Assembly of which they are not masters, together with the whole present system of government; while they support the principle of the inviolability and immovability of that same Assembly, under such circumstances called by them "the holy ark of the country," when a fresh appeal is to be made to the mass of the nation at large. During the waverings and vacillations of the majority—itself clinging to place and power—they more than once expected a triumph for themselves in a declaration of the Assembly's permanence, with the secret hope, en arrière pensée, of finding fair cause for that insurrection by which alone they would fully profit, if a coup-de-main were to be attempted by the government, in obedience to the loudly-expressed clamour of popular opinion, to wreck that "holy ark" in which they had embarked their lesser hopes. When, however, they found that the crew were disposed to desert it, on feeling the storms of public manifestation blowing too hard against it—when they found that they themselves must in a few weeks, or at latest months, quit its tottering planks, their rage has known no bounds. Every manœuvre that can be used to prolong life, by prolonging even the daily existence of the Assembly, is unscrupulously put into practice. They clamour, they interrupt discussion—they denounce—they produce those daily "incidents" of French parliamentary tradition which prevent the progress of parliamentary business—they invent fresh interpellations, to create further delays by long-protracted angry quarrel and acrimony. Part of all this system of denunciation, recrimination, and acrimonious accusation, belongs, it is true, to their assumed character as the dramatis personæ of an imaginary Convention. They have their cherished models of old, to copy which is their task, and their glory; the dramatic traditions of the old Convention are ever in their winds, and are to be followed in manner, and even costume, as far as possible. And thus Ledru Rollin, another would-be Danton, tosses back his head, and raises his [281] nose aloft, and pulls up his burly form, to thunder forth his angry Red-republican indignation; and Felix Pyat, the melodramatic dramatist, of the boulevard du crime—fully in his place where living dramas, almost as extravagant and ranting as those from his own pen, are to be performed—rolls his large round dark eyes, and swells his voice, and shouts, and throws about his arms, after the fashion of those melodrama actors for whose noisy declamation he has afforded such good stuff, and because of his picturesque appearance, fancies himself, it would seem, a new St Just. And Sarrans, soi-disant "the young," acts after no less melodramatic a fashion, as if in rivalry for the parts of jeune premier in the drama, but cannot get beyond the airs of a provincial groundling; and Lagrange, with his ferocious and haggard countenance, and his grizzled long hair and beard, yells from his seat, although in the tribune he affects a milder language now, as if to contradict and deny his past deeds. And Proudhon shouts too, although he puts on a benevolent air patelin, beneath the spectacles on his round face, when he proposes his schemes for the destruction of the whole fabric of society. And Pierre Leroux, the frantic philosopher, shakes his wild greasy mane of hair about his heavy greasy face, and raves, as ever, discordantly; and old Lammenais, the renegade ex-priest, bends his gloomy head, and snarls and growls, and utters low imprecations, instead of priestly blessings, and looks like another Marat, even if he denies the moral resemblance to its full extent. And Greppo shouts and struggles with Felix Pyat for the much-desired part of St Just. And gray-bearded Couthons, who have not even the ardour of youth to excuse their extravagancies, rise from their curule chairs to toss up their arms, and howl in chorus. And even Jules Favre, although he belongs not to their party, barks, bites, accuses, and denounces too, all things and all men, and spits forth venom, as if he was regardless where the venom fell, or whom it blistered; and, with his pale, bilious face, and scrupulously-attired spare form, seems to endeavour to preserve, as far as he can, in a new republic, the agreeable tradition of another Robespierre. And let it not be supposed, that malice or prejudice attaches to the Montagnards these names. The men of the last republican era, whom history has execrated, calumniously and unjustly they will say, are their heroes and their demi-gods; the sage legislators, whose principles they vaunt as those of republican civilisation and humanity; the models whom they avowedly, and with a confessed air of ambition, aspire to copy in word and deed. Part, however, of the systematic confusion, which it is their evident aim to introduce into the deliberations of the Assembly, is, in latter days, to be attributable to their desire to create delays, and lead to episodical discussions of angry quarrel and recrimination, which may prolong the convulsive existence of the Assembly to an indefinite period, or by which they may profit to forward their own designs. Thus the day is rare, as a ray of sunshine in a permanent equinoctial storm, when the Montagnards do not start from their seats, upon the faintest pretext for discontent or accusation of reactionary tendencies; and, either en masse or individually, fulminate, gesticulate, clamour, shout, denounce, and threaten. The thunder upon the "Mountain's" brow is incessant: if it does not burst forth in heavy peals, it never ceases to growl. Each Montagnard is a Jupiter in his own conceit, and hurls his thunderbolt with what force he may. Not a word can be spoken by a supposed reactionary orator without a murmur—not a phrase completed without a shout of denegation, a torrent of interruptions, or peeling bursts of ironical laughter. The "Mountain" is in perpetual labour; but its produce bears more resemblance to a yelping pack of hungry blood-hounds, than to an innocent mouse: it is in perpetual movement; and, like crushing avalanches from its summit, rush down its most energetic members to the tribune, to attempt to crush the Assembly by vehemence and violence of language. These scenes of systematic tumult have necessarily increased in force, since the boiling spite of disappointment has flowed over in hot reality, in place of the affected [282] and acted indignation: the rage and agitation no longer know the least control. The affair of the abolition of the clubs had scarcely lent an excellent pretext for this violence, when the suppression of the insurrection, and the arrests consequent upon the discomfiture of the conspiracy on the 29th of January, gave a wide field for the exercise of the system of denunciation commonly pursued. To be beforehand with accusation by counter-accusation, has been always the tactics of the party: when the party-chiefs find themselves involved in the suspicion of subversive attempts, they begin the attack. The Montagnards have burst forth, then, to declare that the military precautions were a systematic provocation on the part of the ministry and General Changarnier, to incite the population of Paris to civil discord; that the only conspiracy existed in the government itself, to suppress liberty and overthrow the republic—at least to cast a slur upon the only true republicans, and have an excuse for tyrannical oppression towards them. They closed their eyes to the fact that the insurrection, of the proposed reality of which no doubt can remain, spite of these angry denegations, would have produced a crisis to which the real reactionary anti-republicans looked as one that must produce a change in the detested government of the country, should the moderate party triumph in the struggle, as was probable; and that by the suppression of the insurrection the crisis was averted, and the republic evidently consolidated for a time, not weakened. With their usual inconsistency, and want of logical deduction, at the same time that they accused the minister of a useless and provocative display of the military force, they denounced the conspiracy as real, but as proceeding from "infamous royalists," and not anarchist Red republicans. And then, to follow up this pell-mell of self-contradictions—while, on the one hand, they denied any insurrectionary movement at all, and, on the other, attributed it to royalists—they called, in their language at the rostrum, the commencement of the street demonstration on the morning of the 29th of January—which could not be denied, and which had come down as usual from the faubourgs, ever ripe for tumult—"the sublime manifestation of the heroic people." Propositions couched in furious language, for "enquêtes parlementaires," and for the "mise en accusation des ministres"—every possible means of denunciation and intimidation were employed, to increase the agitated hurly-burly of the Assembly, and subvert, as far as was possible, the few frail elements of order and of confidence that still subsisted in it. In marking thus, in hasty traits, the position of parties in the Assembly, called together to establish and consolidate the republic upon a basis of peace and order, what are the figures which are so noted down as forming part of the sum-total, as the approaching conclusion of the revolutionary year is about to make up its accounts? As regards the Assembly, increased confusion, disunion, bitter conflict of exasperated parties, suspicion, mistrust, disaffection, violence.

How stands the government of the country after the year's republicanism? At its head is the Republican President, elected by the immense majority of the country, but elected upon a deceptive basis—elected neither for his principles, which were doubtful; nor for his qualities, which were unknown or supposed to be null; nor even for his name, (although much error has been founded upon the subject,) which, after all, dazzled only a comparatively small minority—but because he was supposed to represent the principle opposed to republicanism—opposed to the very régime he was elected to support—opposed to that spirit of which the man who had once saved the country from anarchy, and had once received the country's blessings, was considered to be the type—because hopes were founded on his advent of a change in a system of government uncongenial, and even hateful, to the mass of the nation; whether by the prestige of his name he attempted to re-establish an empire, or whether, as another Monk, he formed only a stepping-stone for a new monarch. Elected thus upon false principles, the head of the government stands in an eminently false position. He may have shown himself moderate; inclined to support the [283] republic upon that "honest" basis which the better-thinking republicans demand; firm in the support of a cabinet, the measures of which he approves; and every way sincere and straightforward, although not in all his actions wise: but his position remains the same—placed between the ambitious hope of a party which might almost be said to exist no longer, and which has become that only of a family and a few old adherents and connexions, but which attempts to dazzle a country vain and proud of the word "glory," like France, by the somewhat tarnished glitter of a name, and the prospect of another which calls itself legitimate;—the point de mire of the army, but, at the same time, the stalking-horse of a nation miserably wearied with the present hobby, upon which it has been forced unwillingly to ride, with about as much pleasure and aplomb as the famous tailor of Brentford—and, on the other hand, suspected, accused, and denounced by those who claim to themselves the only true and pure essence of veritable republicanism. It is a position placed upon a "see-saw"—placed in the centre, it is true, but liable, in any convulsive crisis, to be seriously compromised by the violent and abrupt elevation of either of the ends of the plank, as it tosses up and down: for the feet of the president, instead of directing the movements of this perpetually agitated "see-saw," and giving the necessary steadiness, without which the whole present republican balance must be overturned, seem more destined to slip hither and thither in the struggle, at the imminent risk of losing all equilibrium, and slipping off the plank altogether. As yet, the president, whenever he appears in public, is followed by shouting and admiring crowds, who run by his horse, clap their hands, call upon his name, greet him with noisy cries of "vive," grasp his hands, and of course present some hundreds of petitions; but these demonstrations of respect must be attributed far less to personal consideration, or popular affection, or even to the prestige of the name of Napoleon, than to the eagerness of the Parisian public, even of the lowest classes—spite of all that may be said of their sentiments by their would-be leaders, the ultra-democrats—to salute with acclamation the personage who represents a head, a chief, a point d'appui quelconque—a leading staff, a guiding star, a unity, instead of a disorderly body—in one word, a resemblance of royalty. It is the president, and not the man, who is thus greeted. The usual curiosity and love of show and parade of the Parisian badauds, at least as "cockney" as the famed Londoner, may be much mixed up again in all this, but the sentiment remains the same; nor do these demonstrations alter the position of the man who stands at the head of the government of France. The ministry, supported in principle by the country, although not from any personal respect or liking, stands in opposition to an Assembly, elected by that country, but no longer representing it. The army shows itself inclined to protect the government, on the one hand, and is said to be ready, on the other, to follow in the cry of "vive l'Empereur!" should that cry be raised. The garde mobile, although modified by its late reorganisation, is suspected of versatility and unsoundness, if not exactly of disaffection: it stands in instant collision with the dislike and jealousy of the army, and, spite of its courageous part in June, is looked upon askance by the lovers of order. What aspect, then, have the figures which may be supposed to represent all this in the sum-total of the year's republicanism? They bear the forms of instability, suspicion, doubt, collision, want of confidence in the future, and all the evils attendant upon the uncertainty of a state of things which, spite of assurances, and spite of efforts, the greater part of France seems inclined to look upon merely as provisionary.

Under what form, then, does the public spirit exhibit itself in circumstances of so much doubt and instability? The attitude of the working classes in general, of the very great majority, in fact—for those still swayed by the delusive arguments, and still more delusive and destructive promises of the Socialists and Republicans are comparatively few, although formidable in the ferocity of their doctrines and their plans, and in the active restlessness of their feverish [284] and excited energies, which resemble the reckless, sleepless, activity of the madman—the attitude of the working classes in Paris is calm, and even expectant; but calm from utter weariness—calm from the convictions, founded on the saddest experience, in the wretched results of further revolutions—calm from a sort of prostrate resignation, and almost despair, in the midst of the miseries and privations which the last fatal year has increased instead of diminishing, and written with a twofold scourge upon their backs: an attitude reassuring, inasmuch as it implies hatred and opposition to the subversive doctrines of the anarchists, but not without its dangers, and, to say the least, heartrending and afflicting—and expectant in the hope and conviction of change in the cause of stability and order. The feeling which, after a few months of the rule of a reckless provisionary government, was the prevailing one among the majority of the working classes—the feeling, which has been already noted, that king Log, or even king Stork, or any other concentrated power that would represent stability and order, would be preferable to the uncertainties of a vacillating republican rule—has ever gained ground among them since those hopes of re-established confidence, and a consequent amelioration of their wretched position, which they first founded upon the meeting of the National Assembly, and then upon the election of a president, have twice deceived them, and left them almost as wretched as ever in the stagnation of trade and commercial affairs. The feeling thus prevalent among the working classes in the capital, is, at the same time, the feeling of the country at large, but to an even far wider extent, and more openly expressed. The hatred of the departments to Paris, as the chief seat of revolution and disorder, has also increased rather than diminished; and everywhere the sentiments of utter weariness, disaffection to the Republic, and impatience under a system of government of which they are no longer inclined to await the promised blessings, are displayed upon all possible occasions, and by every possible organ. The upper classes among moneyed men, and landed proprietors, remain quiet and hold their tongue. They may be expectant and desirous of change also, but they show no open impatience, for they can afford to wait. It is they, on the contrary, who more generally express their opinions in the possibility of the establishment of a prosperous republic—a possibility which the working classes in their impatience deny. In spite of all that ultra-democratic journals may say, in their raving denunciations, borrowed of the language of another Republic, some of the most eager and decided of those they term "reactionary," and denounce as "aristocrats," are thus to be found among the lower working classes. To do justice to the truth of the accusations brought by the Red republican party, in another respect, it is in the bourgeois spirit that is to be found the strongest and most openly avowed reactionary feeling. It is impossible to enter any shop of the better order in Paris, and speak upon the position of affairs, without hearing not only the hope, but the expectation openly expressed, of a monarchic restoration, and that restoration in favour of the elder branch of the Bourbons. The feeling is universal in this class: the name of "Henri V.," scarce mentioned at all, and never under this title, during the reign of Louis Philippe, except in the exclusive circles of the Faubourg St Germain, is now in every shopkeeper's mouth. Louis Philippe, the Regency, all the members of the Orleans family, the Empire, a Bonapartist rule—all are set aside in the minds of these classes for the now-desired idol of their fickle choice, the Duke of Bordeaux. In these classes a restoration in favour of Henri V. is no longer a question of possibility; it is a mere question of time: it is not "L'aurons-nous?" that they ask; it is "Quand l'aurons-nous?" In this respect the real and true republicans, in the "honest" designation of the term, have certainly every reason to raise an angry clamour; if sedition to the existing régime of the country is not openly practised, it is, at all events, openly and generally expressed. Nor are their accusations brought against the government entirely without justice; for while, on the one hand, a measure [285] of a nature altogether arbitrary, under the freedom of a republican rule, is exercised against a well-known artist, by seizing in his atelier the portraits of the Duke of Bordeaux, or, as he is called, the Count of Chambord, and of the Countess, as seditiously exhibited, lithographed likenesses of the Bourbon heir are to be seen on all sides at print-shop windows, and in popular temporary print-stalls; in galleries, arcades, and upon street walls; in vignettes, upon ballads, with such titles, as "Dieu le veut," or "La France le veut," or in busts of all dimensions. Again, the Henri-quinquiste feeling, as it is called, is universal among the fickle bourgeoisie of Paris—the rock upon which Louis Philippe founded his throne, and which sank under him in his hour of need: and the bourgeois, eager and confident in their hopes, wilfully shut their eyes to the fact that, were their detested republic overthrown, there might arise future convulsions, and future civil strife, between a Bonapartist faction—which necessarily grows, and increases, and flourishes more and more under the rule, however temporary, of a chief of the name—and the legitimist party: for the Orleanists, whether fused by a compromise of their hopes with the Legitimists, as has been said, or fallen into the obscurity of forgetfulness or indifference in the majority of the nation, hold forth no decided banner at the present moment. In regarding, then, the public spirit among the majority of all classes in Paris, without consulting the still more reactionary feeling of the departments, the figures to be added to the sum-total of the year's republican account will be again found similar to those already enumerated, in the shape of disaffection, abhorrence of the republican government, want of confidence in its stability, expectation and hope of a change, however it may come, and although it may be brought about by a convulsion.

Meanwhile the uncertainty and anxiety are increased by the continued expectation of some approaching crisis, which the explosion of the insurrection, destined for the 29th of January, would have hastened, and which the precautions taken for the suppression of the outbreak have evidently averted for the time. But what confidence can be expressed in the stability of this temporary state of order in a country so full of excitement and love of change, and in a state of continual revolution, in which such conspiracy ceases not to work in darkness, with the hope of attaining despotic power, and in which disaffection to the state of things is openly expressed? Events have run their course with such fearful rapidity, and the unexpected has been so greatly the "order of the day," in the last year's history of France, that who can answer for the future of the next months, or even weeks? Political prophets have long since thrown up the trade of oracle-giving in despair; and the tripod of the oracle has been left to the occupation of the chances of the imprévu. In spite, then, of the temporary reassurance of peace given by the last measures of the government, which have been denounced by the ultra-democrats as arbitrary, subversive, and unconstitutional, the underground agitation still continues. Paris dances once more, repeating to itself, however, the often-repeated words, "Nous dansons sur un volcan." The carnival pursues its noisy pleasures, under the protection of the forests of bayonets that are continually glittering along the gay sunlit streets, and to the sound of the drum of the marching military, who still give Paris the aspect of a garrison in time of war. Gay salons are opened, and carriages again rattle along the streets on moonlit nights; but the spirit of Parisian gaiety reposes not upon confidence, and is but the practical application of the epicurean philosophy that takes for its maxim, "Carpe diem."

Whatever may be the reality of an approaching crisis, which, however feeble the symptoms at present, the Parisians insist upon regarding as near at hand,—whatever may be the hopes of some that the crisis, however convulsive, must produce a desired change, and the fears of others of the civil strife,—whatever thus the desires of the sanguine, the expectations of the hopeful, the apprehensions of the peaceful, and the terrors of the timorous, the result is still the same—the uncertainty, the want of confidence, the evils attendant upon this [286] feeling of instability, so often already enumerated. The violence and struggling rage of the ultra-democratic and socialist journals, increasing in denunciation to the death, and positively convulsive in their rage, as the anti-republican reactionary spirit grows, and spreads wider, and every day takes firmer root, and even dares to blossom openly in the expression of public opinion, are looked upon as the throes of dying agony by the bold, but are regarded with dread by the less courageous, who know the force of the party's exaggerated violence, and have already felt the miseries of their fanatic subversive attempts. Meanwhile, the moderate or honest republic, which vainly attempts a juste milieu of republicanism, between extravagance and disaffection, limps sadly forwards; or, as one of the late satirical pieces, which openly attack the republic on the stage, expresses it—amidst the applause and shouts of deriding laughter, which hail it nightly in crowded houses, not so much from the boxes as from the galleries thronged with types of the "people"—"Elle boîte! elle boîte!" Republicans may thus clamour against the culpable laxity of a government, which permits these much-applauded attacks upon the Republic, in accordance with the principle of freedom of opinion, and in pursuance of the abolition of a theatrical censorship which they themselves condemned: but so it is; and therein may be sought and found one of the strongest popular evidences of popular disaffection. And satires too, and caricatures, abound, in which the unhappy Republic is still more soundly scourged—demonstrations not less lively, although they call not forth the evident approbation of a congregated multitude. Now, then, that the revolutionary year has almost closed there—now that the anniversary of the days of February is at hand—let people take the figures enumerated, and justly enumerated, as they will, and place them as they fancy in the sum-total, and cast them up as they please, or deduce what value they may from the amount of the first year of new republicanism in France. Another question. What fêtes are to greet the anniversaries of the "glorious" days of the "glorious" revolution which established a "glorious" Republic? Assuredly the fête will not be in the people's hearts: no, not even in the hearts of those whom their mis-named, self-appointed friends choose to call, par excellence, "the people."




The next day, on the outside of the Cambridge Telegraph, there was one passenger who ought to have impressed his fellow-travellers with a very respectful idea of his lore in the dead languages; for not a single syllable, in a live one, did he vouchsafe to utter from the moment he ascended that "bad eminence," to the moment in which he regained his mother earth. "Sleep," says honest Sancho, "covers a man better than a cloak." I am ashamed of thee, honest Sancho! thou art a sad plagiarist; for Tibullus said pretty nearly the same thing before thee,—

"Te somnus fusco velavit amictu."[4]

But is not silence as good a cloak as sleep?—does it not wrap a man round with as offusc and impervious a fold? Silence—what a world it covers!—what busy schemes—what bright hopes and dark fears—what ambition, or what despair! Do you ever see a man in any society sitting mute for hours, and not feel an uneasy curiosity to penetrate the wall he thus builds up between others and himself? Does he not interest you far more than the brilliant talker at your left—the airy wit at your right, whose shafts fall in vain on the sullen barrier of the silent man! Silence, dark sister of Nox and Erebus, how, layer upon layer, shadow upon shadow, blackness upon blackness, thou stretchest thyself from hell to heaven, over thy two chosen haunts—man's heart and the grave!

So, then, wrapped in my greatcoat and my silence, I performed my journey; and on the evening of the second day I reached the old-fashioned brick house. How shrill on my ears sounded the bell! How strange and ominous to my impatience seemed the light gleaming across the windows of the hall! How my heart beat as I watched the face of the servant who opened the gate to my summons!

"All well?" cried I.

"All well, sir," answered the servant, cheerfully. "Mr Squills, indeed, is with master, but I don't think there is anything the matter."

But now my mother appeared at the threshold, and I was in her arms.

"Sisty, Sisty!—my dear, dear son!—beggared, perhaps—and my fault,—mine."

"Yours!—come into this room, out of hearing—your fault?"

"Yes, yes!—for if I had had no brother, or if I had not been led away,—if I had, as I ought, entreated poor Austin not to—"

"My dear, dearest mother, you accuse yourself for what, it seems, was my uncle's misfortune—I am sure not even his fault! (I made a gulp there.) No, lay the fault on the right shoulders—the defunct shoulders of that horrible progenitor, William Caxton the printer; for, though I don't yet know the particulars of what has happened, I will lay a wager it is connected with that fatal invention of printing. Come, come,—my father is well, is he not?"

"Yes, thank Heaven."

"And you too, and I, and Roland, and little Blanche! Why then, you are right to thank Heaven, for your true treasures are untouched. But sit down and explain, pray."

"I cannot explain. I do not understand anything more than that he, my brother,—mine!—has involved Austin in—in—" (a fresh burst of tears.)

I comforted, scolded, laughed, preached, and adjured in a breath; and then, drawing my mother gently on, entered my father's study.

At the table was seated Mr Squills, pen in hand, and a glass of his favourite punch by his side. My father was standing on the hearth, a shade more pale; but with a resolute expression on his countenance, which was new to its indolent thoughtful mildness! He lifted his eyes as the door opened, and then, putting his finger to his lips, [288] as he glanced towards my mother, he said gaily, "No great harm done. Don't believe her! Women always exaggerate, and make realities of their own bugbears: it is the vice of their lively imaginations, as Wierus has clearly shown in accounting for the marks, moles, and hare-lips which they inflict upon their innocent infants before they are even born. My dear boy," added my father, as I here kissed him and smiled in his face, "I thank you for that smile! God bless you!" He wrung my hand, and turned a little aside.

"It is a great comfort," renewed my father, after a short pause, "to know, when a misfortune happens, that it could not be helped. Squills has just discovered that I have no bump of cautiveness; so that, craniologically speaking, if I had escaped one imprudence, I should certainly have run my head against another."

"A man with your development is made to be taken in," said Mr Squills, consolingly.

"Do you hear that, my own Kitty! and have you the heart to blame Jack any longer—a poor creature cursed with a bump that would take in the Stock Exchange? And can any one resist his bump, Squills?"

"Impossible!" said the surgeon authoritatively.

"Sooner or later it must involve him in its airy meshes—eh, Squills? entrap him into its fatal cerebral cell. There his fate waits him, like the ant-lion in its pit."

"Too true," quoth Squills. "What a phrenological lecturer you would have made!"

"Go, then, my love," said my father, "and lay no blame but on this melancholy cavity of mine, where cautiveness—is not! Go, and let Sisty have some supper; for Squills says that he has a fine development of the mathematical organs, and we want his help. We are hard at work on figures, Pisistratus."

My mother looked broken-hearted, and, obeying submissively, stole to the door without a word. But as she reached the threshold she turned round, and beckoned to me to follow her.

I whispered to my father, and went out. My mother was standing in the hall, and I saw by the lamp that she had dried her tears; and that her face, though very sad, was more composed.

"Sisty," she said, in a low voice which struggled to be firm, "promise me that you will tell me all,—the worst, Sisty. They keep it from me, and that is my hardest punishment; for when I don't know all that he—that Austin suffers, it seems to me as if I had lost his heart. Oh, Sisty! My child, my child, don't fear me! I shall be happy whatever befalls us, if I once get back my privilege—my privilege, Sisty, to comfort, to share!—do you understand me?"

"Yes, indeed, my mother! And with your good sense, and clear woman's wit, if you will but feel how much we want them, you will be the best counsellor we could have. So never fear, you and I will have no secrets."

My mother kissed me, and went away with a less heavy step.

As I re-entered, my father came across the room and embraced me.

"My son," he said in a faltering voice, "if your modest prospects in life are ruined—"

"Father, father, can you think of me at such a moment! Me!—Is it possible to ruin the young, and strong, and healthy! Ruin me, with these thews and sinews!—ruin me, with the education you have given me—thews and sinews of the mind! Oh no! there, Fortune is harmless! And you forget, sir,—the saffron bag!"

Squills leapt up, and, wiping his eyes with one hand, gave me a sounding slap on the shoulder with the other.

"I am proud of the care I took of your infancy, Master Caxton. That comes of strengthening the digestive organs in early childhood. Such sentiments are a proof of magnificent ganglions in a perfect state of order. When a man's tongue is as smooth as I am sure yours is, he slips through misfortune like an eel."

I laughed outright, my father smiled faintly; and seating myself, I drew towards me a paper filled with Squills' memoranda, and said, "Now to find the unknown quantity. What on earth is this? 'Supposed value of books, £750.' Oh, father! this is impossible. I was prepared for anything but that. Your books—they are your life!"[289]

"Nay," said my father; "after all, they are the offending party in this case, and so ought to be the principal victims. Besides, I believe I know most of them by heart. But, in truth, we are only entering all our effects, to be sure (added my father proudly) that, come what may, we are not dishonoured."

"Humour him," whispered Squills; "we will save the Books." Then he added aloud, as he laid finger and thumb on my pulse, "One, two, three, about seventy—capital pulse—soft and full—he can bear the whole: let us administer it."

My father nodded—"Certainly. But, Pisistratus, we must manage your dear mother. Why she should think of blaming herself, because poor Jack took wrong ways to enrich us, I cannot understand. But, as I have had occasion before to remark, Sphinx and Enigma are nouns feminine."

My poor father! that was a vain struggle for thy wonted innocent humour. The lips quivered.

Then the story came out. It seems that, when it was resolved to undertake the publication of the Literary Times, a certain number of shareholders had been got together by the indefatigable energies of Uncle Jack; and, in the deed of association and partnership, my father's name figured conspicuously as the holder of a fourth of this joint property. If in this my father had committed some imprudence, he had at least done nothing that, according to the ordinary calculations of a secluded student, could become ruinous. But, just at the time when we were in the hurry of leaving town, Jack had represented to my father that it might be necessary to alter a little the plan of the paper; and, in order to allure a larger circle of readers, touch somewhat on the more vulgar news and interests of the day. A change of plan might involve a change of title; and he suggested to my father the expediency of leaving the smooth hands of Mr Tibbets altogether unfettered, as to the technical name and precise form of the publication. To this my father had unwittingly assented, on hearing that the other shareholders would do the same. Mr Peck, a printer of considerable opulence, and highly respectable name, had been found to advance the sum necessary for the publication of the earlier numbers, upon the guarantee of the said act of partnership, and the additional security of my father's signature to a document, authorising Mr Tibbets to make any change in the form or title of the periodical that might be judged advisable, concurrent with the consent of the other shareholders.

Now it seems that Mr Peck had, in his previous conferences with Mr Tibbets, thrown much cold water on the idea of the Literary Times, and had suggested something that should "catch the moneyed public,"—the fact being, as was afterwards discovered, that the printer, whose spirit of enterprise was congenial to Uncle Jack's, had shares in three or four speculations, to which he was naturally glad of an opportunity to invite the attention of the public. In a word, no sooner was my poor father's back turned than the Literary Times was dropped incontinently, and Mr Peck and Mr Tibbets began to concentre their luminous notions into that brilliant and comet-like apparition which ultimately blazed forth under the title of The Capitalist.

From this change of enterprise the more prudent and responsible of the original shareholders had altogether withdrawn. A majority, indeed, were left; but the greater part of those were shareholders of that kind most amenable to the influences of Uncle Jack, and willing to be shareholders in anything, since as yet they were possessors of nothing.

Assured of my father's responsibility, the adventurous Peck put plenty of spirit into the first launch of The Capitalist. All the walls were placarded with its announcements; circular advertisements ran from one end of of the kingdom to the other. Agents were engaged, correspondents levied en masse. The invasion of Xerxes on the Greeks was not more munificently provided for than that of The Capitalist upon the credulity and avarice of mankind.

But as Providence bestows upon fishes the instrument of fins, whereby they balance and direct their movements, however rapid and erratic, through the pathless deeps, so to the [290] cold-blooded creatures of our own species—that may be classed under the genus MONEY-MAKERS—the same protective power accords the fin-like properties of prudence and caution, wherewith your true money-getter buoys and guides himself majestically through the great seas of speculation. In short, the fishes the net was cast for were all scared from the surface at the first splash. They came round and smelt at the mesh with their shark bottle-noses, and then, plying those invaluable fins, made off as fast as they could—plunging into the mud—hiding themselves under rocks and coral banks. Metaphor apart, the capitalists buttoned up their pockets, and would have nothing to say to their namesake.

Not a word of this change, so abhorrent to all the notions of poor Augustine Caxton, had been breathed to him by Peck or Tibbets. He ate, and slept, and worked at the great Book, occasionally wondering why he had not heard of the advent of the Literary Times, unconscious of all the awful responsibilities which The Capitalist was entailing on him;—knowing no more of The Capitalist than he did of the last loan of the Rothschilds.

Difficult was it for all other human nature, save my father's, not to breathe an indignant anathema on the scheming head of the brother-in-law who had thus violated the most sacred obligations of trust and kindred, and so entangled an unsuspecting recluse. But, to give even Jack Tibbets his due, he had firmly convinced himself that The Capitalist would make my father's fortune; and if he did not announce to him the strange and anomalous development into which the original sleeping chrysalis of the Literary Times had taken portentous wing, it was purely and wholly in the knowledge that my father's "prejudices," as he termed them, would stand in the way of his becoming a Crœsus. And, in fact, Uncle Jack had believed so heartily in his own project, that he had put himself thoroughly into Mr Peck's power, signed bills in his own name to some fabulous amount, and was actually now in the Fleet, whence his penitential and despairing confession was dated, arriving simultaneously with a short letter from Mr Peck, wherein that respectable printer apprised my father that he had continued, at his own risk, the publication of The Capitalist, as far as a prudent care for his family would permit; that he need not say that a new daily journal was a very vast experiment; that the expense of such a paper as The Capitalist was immeasurably greater than that of a mere literary periodical, as originally suggested; and that now, being constrained to come upon the shareholders for the sums he had advanced, amounting to several thousands, he requested my father to settle with him immediately—delicately implying that he himself might settle as he could with the other shareholders, most of whom, he grieved to add, he had been misled by Mr Tibbets into believing to be men of substance, when in reality they were men of straw!

Nor was this all the evil. The "Great Anti-Bookseller Publishing Society,"—which had maintained a struggling existence—evinced by advertisements of sundry forthcoming works of solid interest and enduring nature, wherein, out of a long list, amidst a pompous array of "Poems;" "Dramas not intended for the Stage;" "Essays by Phileutheros, Philanthropos, Philopolis, Philodemus, and Philalethes," stood prominently forth "The History of Human Error, Vols. I. and II., quarto, with illustrations,"—the "Anti-Bookseller Society," I say, that had hitherto evinced nascent and budding life by these exfoliations from its slender stem, died of a sudden blight, the moment its sun, in the shape of Uncle Jack, set in the Cimmerian regions of the Fleet; and a polite letter from another printer (O William Caxton, William Caxton!—fatal progenitor!) informing my father of this event, stated complimentarily that it was to him, "as the most respectable member of the Association," that the said printer would be compelled to look for expenses incurred, not only in the very costly edition of the History of Human Error, but for those incurred in the print and paper devoted to "Poems," "Dramas, not intended for the stage," "Essays by [291] Phileutheros, Philanthropos, Philopolis, Philodemus, and Philalethes," with sundry other works, no doubt of a very valuable nature, but in which a considerable loss, in a pecuniary point of view, must be necessarily expected.

I own that, as soon as I had mastered the above agreeable facts, and ascertained from Mr Squills that my father really did seem to have rendered himself legally liable to these demands, I leant back in my chair, stunned and bewildered.

"So you see," said my father, "that as yet we are contending with monsters in the dark—in the dark all monsters look larger and uglier. Even Augustus Cæsar, though certainly he had never scrupled to make as many ghosts as suited his convenience, did not like the chance of a visit from them, and never sate alone in tenebris. What the amount of the sums claimed from me may be, we know not; what may be gained from the other shareholders is equally obscure and undefined. But the first thing to do is to get poor Jack out of prison."

"Uncle Jack out of prison!" exclaimed I: "surely, sir, that is carrying forgiveness too far."

"Why, he would not have been in prison if I had not been so blindly forgetful of his weakness, poor man! I ought to have known better. But my vanity misled me; I must needs publish a great book, as if (said Mr Caxton, looking round the shelves,) there were not great books enough in the world! I must needs, too, think of advancing and circulating knowledge in the form of a journal—I, who had not knowledge enough of the character of my own brother-in-law to keep myself from ruin! Come what will, I should think myself the meanest of men to let that poor creature, whom I ought to have considered as a monomaniac, rot in prison, because I, Austin Caxton, wanted common sense. And (concluded my father resolutely) he is your mother's brother, Pisistratus. I should have gone to town at once; but, hearing that my wife had written to you, I waited till I could leave her to the companionship of hope and comfort—two blessings that smile upon every mother in the face of a son like you. To-morrow I go."

"Not a bit of it," said Mr Squills firmly; "as your medical adviser, I forbid you to leave the house for the next six days."


"Sir," continued Mr Squills, biting off the end of a cigar which he pulled from his pocket, "you concede to me that it is a very important business on which you propose to go to London."

"Of that there is no doubt," replied my father.

"And the doing of business well or ill entirely depends upon the habit of body!" cried Mr Squills triumphantly. "Do you know, Mr Caxton, that while you are looking so calm, and talking so quietly—just on purpose to sustain your son and delude your wife—do you know that your pulse, which is naturally little more than sixty, is nearly a hundred? Do you know, sir, that your mucous membranes are in a state of high irritation, apparent by the papillæ at the tip of your tongue? And if, with a pulse like this, and a tongue like that, you think of settling money matters with a set of sharp-witted tradesmen, all I can say is, that you are a ruined man."

"But—" began my father.

"Did not Squire Rollick," pursued Mr Squills—"Squire Rollick, the hardest head at a bargain I know of—did not Squire Rollick sell that pretty little farm of his, Scranny Holt, for thirty per cent below its value? And what was the cause, sir?—the whole county was in amaze!—what was the cause, but an incipient simmering attack of the yellow jaundice, which made him take a gloomy view of human life, and the agricultural interest? On the other hand, did not Lawyer Cool, the most prudent man in the three kingdoms—Lawyer Cool, who was so methodical, that all the clocks in the county were set by his watch—plunge one morning head over heels into a frantic speculation for cultivating the bogs in Ireland, (his watch did not go right for the next [292] three months, which made our whole shire an hour in advance of the rest of England!) And what was the cause of that nobody knew, till I was called in, and fund the cerebral membranes in a state of acute irritation, probably just in the region of his acquisitiveness and ideality. No, Mr Caxton, you will stay at home, and take a soothing preparation I shall send you, of lettuce leaves and marshmallows. But I," continued Squills, lighting his cigar and taking two determined whiffs—"but I will go up to town and settle the business for you, and take with me this young gentleman, whose digestive functions are just in a state to deal safely with those horrible elements of dyspepsia—the L. S. D."

As he spoke, Mr Squills set his foot significantly upon mine.

"But," resumed my father mildly, "though I thank you very much, Squills, for your kind offer, I do not recognise the necessity of accepting it. I am not so bad a philosopher as you seem to imagine; and the blow I have received has not so deranged my physical organisation as to render me unfit to transact my affairs."

"Hum!" grunted Squills, starting up and seizing my father's pulse, "ninety-six—ninety-six if a beat! And the tongue, sir!"

"Pshaw!" quoth my father, "you have not even seen my tongue!"

"No need of that, I know what it is by the state of the eyelids—tip scarlet, sides rough as a nutmeg grater!"

"Pshaw!" again said my father, this time impatiently.

"Well," said Squills solemnly, "it is my duty to say, (here my mother entered, to tell me that supper was ready,) and I say it to you, Mrs Caxton, and you, Mr Pisistratus Caxton, as the parties most nearly interested, that if you, sir, go to London upon this matter, I'll not answer for the consequences."

"Oh! Austin, Austin!" cried my mother, running up and throwing her arms round my father's neck; while I, little less alarmed by Squills' serious tone and aspect, represented strongly the inutility of Mr Caxton's personal interference at the first moment. All he could do on arriving in town would be to put the matter into the hands of a good lawyer, and that we could do for him; it would be time enough to send for him when the extent of the mischief done was more clearly ascertained. Meanwhile Squills griped my father's pulse, and my mother hung on his neck.

"Ninety-six—ninety-seven!" groaned Squills in a hollow voice.

"I don't believe it!" cried my father, almost in a passion—"never better nor cooler in my life."

"And the tongue—look at his tongue, Mrs Caxton—a tongue, ma'am, so bright that you could see to read by it!"

"Oh! Austin, Austin!"

"My dear, it is not my tongue that is in fault, I assure you," said my father, speaking through his teeth; "and the man knows no more of my tongue than he does of the mysteries of Eleusis."

"Put it out then," exclaimed Squills, "and if it be not as I say, you have my leave to go to London, and throw your whole fortune into the two great pits you have dug for it. Put it out!"

"Mr Squills!" said my father, colouring—"Mr Squills, for shame!"

"Dear, dear Austin! your hand is so hot—you are feverish, I am sure."

"Not a bit of it."

"But, sir, only just gratify Mr Squills," said I coaxingly.

"There, there!" said my father, fairly baited into submission, and shyly exhibiting for a moment the extremest end of the vanquished organ of eloquence.

Squills darted forward his lynx-like eyes. "Red as a lobster, and rough as a gooseberry-bush!" cried Squills, in a tone of savage joy.


How was it possible for one poor tongue, so reviled and persecuted, so humbled, insulted, and triumphed over—to resist three tongues in league against it?

Finally, my father yielded; and [293] Squills, in high spirits, declared that he would go to supper with me, to see that I eat nothing that could tend to discredit his reliance on my system. Leaving my mother still with her Austin, the good surgeon then took my arm, and, as soon as we were in the next room, shut the door carefully, wiped his forehead, and said—"I think we have saved him!"

"Would it really, then, have injured my father so much?"

"So much!—why, you foolish young man, don't you see that, with his ignorance of business, where he himself is concerned—though, for any other one's business, neither Rollick nor Cool has a better judgment—and with his d—d Quixotic spirit of honour worked up into a state of excitement, he would have rushed to Mr Tibbets, and exclaimed 'How much do you owe? there it is!'—settled in the same way with these printers, and come back without a sixpence; whereas you and I can look coolly about us, and reduce the inflammation to the minimum!"

"I see, and thank you heartily, Squills."

"Besides," said the surgeon, with more feeling, "your father has really been making a noble effort over himself. He suffers more than you would think—not for himself, (for I do believe that, if he were alone in the world, he would be quite contented if he could save fifty pounds a-year and his books,) but for your mother and yourself; and a fresh access of emotional excitement, all the nervous anxiety of a journey to London on such a business, might have ended in a paralytic or epileptic affection. Now, we have him here snug; and the worst news we can give him will be better than what he will make up his mind for. But you don't eat."

"Eat! How can I? My poor father!"

"The effect of grief upon the gastric juices, through the nervous system, is very remarkable," said Mr Squills, philosophically, and helping himself to a broiled bone; "it increases the thirst, while it takes away hunger. No—don't touch Port!—heating! Sherry and water."


The house-door had closed upon Mr Squills—that gentleman having promised to breakfast with me the next morning, so that we might take the coach from our gate—and I remained alone, seated by the supper-table, and revolving all I had heard, when my father walked in.

"Pisistratus," said he, gravely, and looking round him, "your mother!—suppose the worst—your first care, then, must be to try and secure something for her. You and I are men—we can never want, while we have health of mind and body; but a woman—and if anything happens to me"—

My father's lip writhed as it uttered these brief sentences.

"My dear, dear father!" said I, suppressing my tears with difficulty, "all evils, as you yourself said, look worse by anticipation. It is impossible that your whole fortune can be involved. The newspaper did not run many weeks; and only the first volume of your work is printed. Besides, there must be other shareholders who will pay their quota. Believe me, I feel sanguine as to the result of my embassy. As for my poor mother, it is not the loss of fortune that will wound her—depend on it, she thinks very little of that; it is the loss of your confidence."

"My confidence!"

"Ah yes! tell her all your fears, as your hopes. Do not let your affectionate pity exclude her from one corner of your heart."

"It is that—it is that, Austin,—my husband—my joy—my pride—my soul—my all!" cried a soft, broken voice.

My mother had crept in, unobserved by us.

My father looked at us both, and the tears which had before stood in his eyes forced their way. Then opening his arms—into which his Kitty threw herself joyfully—he lifted those moist eyes upward, and, by the movement of his lips, I saw that he thanked God. [294]

I stole out of the room. I felt that those two hearts should be left to beat and to blend alone. And from that hour, I am convinced that Augustine Caxton acquired a stouter philosophy than that of the stoics. The fortitude that concealed pain was no longer needed, for the pain was no longer felt.


Mr Squills and I performed our journey without adventure, and, as we were not alone on the coach, with little conversation. We put up at a small inn at the city, and the next morning I sallied forth to see Trevanion—for we agreed that he would be the best person to advise us. But, on arriving at St James's Square, I had the disappointment of hearing that the whole family had gone to Paris three days before, and were not expected to return till the meeting of Parliament.

This was a sad discouragement, for I had counted much on Trevanion's clear head, and that extraordinary range of accomplishment in all matters of business—all that related to practical life—which my old patron pre-eminently possessed. The next thing would be to find Trevanion's lawyer, (for Trevanion was one of those men whose solicitors are sure to be able and active.) But the fact was, that he left so little to lawyers, that he had never had occasion to communicate with one since I had known him; and I was therefore in ignorance of the very name of his solicitor; nor could the porter, who was left in charge of the house, enlighten me. Luckily, I bethought myself of Sir Sedley Beaudesert, who could scarcely fail to give me the information required, and who, at all events, might recommend me some other lawyer. So to him I went.

I found Sir Sedley at breakfast with a young gentleman who seemed about twenty. The good baronet was delighted to see me; but I thought it was with a little confusion, rare to his cordial ease, that he presented me to his cousin, Lord Castleton. It was a name familiar to me, though I had never before met its patrician owner.

The Marquis of Castleton was indeed a subject of envy to young idlers, and afforded a theme of interest to gray-beard politicians. Often had I heard of "that lucky fellow Castleton," who, when of age, would step into one of those colossal fortunes which would realise the dreams of Aladdin—a fortune that had been out to nurse since his minority. Often had I heard graver gossips wonder whether Castleton would take any active part in public life—whether he would keep up the family influence. His mother (still alive) was a superior woman, and had devoted herself, from his childhood, to supply a father's loss, and fit him for his great position. It was said that he was clever—had been educated by a tutor of great academic distinction, and was reading for a double first class at Oxford. This young marquis was indeed the head of one of those few houses still left in England that retain feudal importance. He was important, not only from his rank and his vast fortune, but from an immense circle of powerful connections; from the ability of his two predecessors, who had been keen politicians and cabinet-ministers; from the prestige they had bequeathed to his name; from the peculiar nature of his property, which gave him the returning interest in no less than six parliamentary seats in Great Britain and Ireland—besides that indirect ascendency which the head of the Castletons had always exercised over many powerful and noble allies of that princely house. I was not aware that he was related to Sir Sedley, whose world of action was so remote from politics; and it was with some surprise that I now heard that announcement, and certainly with some interest that I, perhaps from the verge of poverty, gazed on this young heir of fabulous El-Dorados.

It was easy to see that Lord Castleton had been brought up with a careful knowledge of his future greatness, and its serious responsibilities. He stood immeasurably aloof from all the affectations common to the youth of minor patricians. He had not been taught to value himself on the cut of [295] a coat, or the shape of a hat. His world was far above St James's Street and the clubs. He was dressed plainly, though in a style peculiar to himself—a white neckcloth, (which was not at that day quite so uncommon for morning use as it is now,) trowsers without straps, thin shoes and gaiters. There was nothing in his manner of the supercilious apathy which characterises the dandy introduced to some one whom he doubts if he can nod to from the bow-window at White's—none of such vulgar coxcombries had Lord Castleton; and yet a young gentleman more emphatically coxcomb it was impossible to see. He had been told, no doubt, that, as the head of a house which was almost in itself a party in the state, he should be bland and civil to all men; and this duty being grafted upon a nature singularly cold and unsocial, gave to his politeness something so stiff, yet so condescending, that it brought the blood to one's cheek—though the momentary anger was counterbalanced by something almost ludicrous in the contrast between this gracious majesty of deportment, and the insignificant figure, with the boyish beardless face, by which it was assumed. Lord Castleton did not content himself with a mere bow at our introduction. Much to my wonder how he came by the information he displayed, he made me a little speech after the manner of Louis XIV. to a provincial noble—studiously modelled upon that royal maxim of urbane policy which instructs a king that he should know something of the birth, parentage, and family, of his meanest gentleman. It was a little speech, in which my father's learning, and my uncle's services, and the amiable qualities of your humble servant, were neatly interwoven—delivered in a falsetto tone, as if learned by heart, though it must have been necessarily impromptu; and then, reseating himself, he made a gracious motion of the head and hand, as if to authorise me to do the same.

Conversation succeeded, by galvanic jerks and spasmodic starts—a conversation that Lord Castleton contrived to tug so completely out of poor Sir Sedley's ordinary course of small and polished small-talk, that that charming personage, accustomed, as he well deserved, to be Coryphæus at his own table, was completely silenced. With his light reading, his rich stores of anecdote, his good-humoured knowledge of the drawing-room world, he had scarce a word that would fit into the great, rough, serious matters which Lord Castleton threw upon the table, as he nibbled his toast. Nothing but the most grave and practical subjects of human interest seemed to attract this future leader of mankind. The fact is that Lord Castleton had been taught everything that relates to property—(a knowledge which embraces a very wide circumference.) It had been said to him "You will be an immense proprietor—knowledge is essential to your self-preservation. You will be puzzled, bubbled, ridiculed, duped every day of your life, if you do not make yourself acquainted with all by which property is assailed or defended, impoverished or increased. You have a vast stake in the country—you must learn all the interests of Europe—nay, of the civilised world—for those interests react on the country, and the interests of the country are of the greatest possible consequence to the interests of the Marquis of Castleton." Thus the state of the Continent—the policy of Metternich—the condition of the Papacy—the growth of Dissent—the proper mode of dealing with the general spirit of Democracy, which was the epidemic of European monarchies—the relative proportions of the agricultural and manufacturing population—corn-laws, currency, and the laws that regulate wages—a criticism on the leading speakers of the House of Commons, with some discursive observations on the importance of fattening cattle—the introduction of flax into Ireland—emigration—the condition of the poor—the doctrines of Mr Owen—the pathology of potatoes; the connexion between potatoes, pauperism, and patriotism; these, and suchlike stupendous subjects for reflection—all branching, more or less intricately, from the single idea of the Castleton property—the young lord discussed and disposed of in half-a-dozen prim, poised sentences—evincing, I must say in justice, no inconsiderable information, and a [296] mighty solemn turn of mind. The oddity was, that the subjects so selected and treated should not come rather from some young barrister, or mature political economist, than from so gorgeous a lily of the field. Of a less man, certainly, one would have said—"Cleverish, but a prig;" but there really was something so respectable in a man born to such fortunes, and having nothing to do but to bask in the sunshine, voluntarily taking such pains with himself, and condescending to identify his own interests—the interests of the Castleton property—with the concerns of his lesser fellow-mortals, that one felt the young marquis had in him the stuff to become a very considerable man.

Poor Sir Sedley, to whom all these matters were as unfamiliar as the theology of the Talmud, after some vain efforts to slip the conversation into easier grooves, fairly gave in, and, with a compassionate smile on his handsome countenance, took refuge in his easy-chair and the contemplation of his snuff-box.

At last, to our great relief, the servant announced Lord Castleton's carriage; and with another speech of overpowering affability to me, and a cold shake of the hand to Sir Sedley, Lord Castleton went his way.

The breakfast parlour looked on the street, and I turned mechanically to the window as Sir Sedley followed his guest out of the room. A travelling carriage, with four post-horses, was at the door; and a servant, who looked like a foreigner, was in waiting with his master's cloak. As I saw Lord Castleton step into the street, and wrap himself in his costly mantle lined with sables, I observed, more than I had while he was in the room, the enervate slightness of his frail form, and the more than paleness of his thin, joyless face; and then, instead of envy, I felt compassion for the owner of all this pomp and grandeur—felt that I would not have exchanged my hardy health, and easy humour, and vivid capacities of enjoyment in things the slightest and most within the reach of all men, for the wealth and greatness which that poor youth perhaps deserved the more for putting them so little to the service of pleasure.

"Well," said Sir Sedley, "and what do you think of him?"

"He is just the sort of man Trevanion would like," said I, evasively.

"That is true," answered Sir Sedley, in a serious tone of voice, and looking at me somewhat earnestly. "Have you heard?—but no, you cannot have heard yet."

"Heard what?"

"My dear young friend," said the kindest and most delicate of all fine gentlemen, sauntering away that he might not observe the emotion he caused, "Lord Castleton is going to Paris to join the Trevanions. The object Lady Ellinor has had at heart for many a long year is won, and our pretty Fanny will be Marchioness of Castleton when her betrothed is of age—that is, in six months. The two mothers have settled it all between them!"

I made no answer, but continued to look out of the window.

"This alliance," resumed Sir Sedley, "was all that was wanting to assure Trevanion's position. When parliament meets, he will have some great office. Poor man! how I shall pity him! It is extraordinary to me," continued Sir Sedley, benevolently going on, that I might have full time to recover myself, "how contagious that disease called business is in our foggy England! Not only Trevanion, you see, has the complaint in its very worst and most complicated form, but that poor dear cousin of mine, who is so young, (here Sir Sedley sighed) and might enjoy himself so much, is worse than you were when Trevanion was fagging you to death. But, to be sure, a great name and position, like Castleton's, must be a very heavy affliction to a conscientious mind. You see how the sense of its responsibilities has aged him already—positively, two great wrinkles under his eyes. Well, after all, I admire him, and respect his tutor: a soil naturally very thin, I suspect, has been most carefully cultivated; and Castleton, with Trevanion's help, will be the first man in the peerage—prime-minister some day, I dare say. And, when I think of it, how grateful I ought to feel to his father and mother, who produced him quite in their old age; for, if he had not been born, I should have been the [297] most miserable of men—yes, positively, that horrible marquisate would have come to me! I never think over Horace Walpole's regrets, when he got the earldom of Orford, without the deepest sympathy, and without a shudder at the thought of what my dear Lady Castleton was kind enough to save me from—all owing to the Ems waters, after twenty years' marriage! Well, my young friend, and how are all at home?"

As when, some notable performer not having yet arrived behind the scenes, or having to change his dress, or not having yet quite recovered an unlucky extra tumbler of exciting fluids—and the green curtain has therefore unduly delayed its ascent—you perceive that the thorough-bass in the orchestra charitably devotes himself to a prelude of astonishing prolixity, calling in Lodoiska or Der Freischutz to beguile the time, and allow the procrastinating histrion leisure sufficient to draw on his flesh-coloured pantaloons, and give himself the proper complexion for a Coriolanus or Macbeth—even so had Sir Sedley made that long speech, requiring no rejoinder, till he saw the time had arrived when he could artfully close with the flourish of a final interrogative, in order to give poor Pisistratus Caxton all preparation to compose himself, and step forward. There is certainly something of exquisite kindness, and thoughtful benevolence, in that rarest of gifts,—fine breeding; and when now, remanned and resolute, I turned round and saw Sir Sedley's soft blue eye shyly, but benignantly, turned to me—while, with a grace no other snuff-taker ever had since the days of Pope, he gently proceeded to refresh himself by a pinch of the celebrated Beaudesert mixture—I felt my heart as gratefully moved towards him as if he had conferred on me some colossal obligation. And this crowning question—"And how are all at home?" restored me entirely to my self-possession, and for the moment distracted the bitter current of my thoughts.

I replied by a brief statement of my father's involvement, disguising our apprehensions as to its extent, speaking of it rather as an annoyance than a possible cause of ruin, and ended by asking Sir Sedley to give me the address of Trevanion's lawyer.

The good baronet listened with great attention; and that quick penetration which belongs to a man of the world enabled him to detect, that I had smoothed over matters more than became a faithful narrator.

He shook his head, and, seating himself on the sofa, motioned me to come to his side; then, leaning his arm over my shoulder, he said in his seductive, winning way—

"We two young fellows should understand each other, when we talk of money matters. I can say to you what I could not to my respectable senior—by three years; your excellent father. Frankly, then, I suspect this is a bad business. I know little about newspapers, except that I have to subscribe to one in my county, which costs me a small income; but I know that a London daily paper might ruin a man in a few weeks. And as for shareholders, my dear Caxton, I was once teased into being a shareholder in a canal that ran through my property, and ultimately ran off with £30,000 of it! The other shareholders were all drowned in the canal, like Pharaoh and his hosts in the Red Sea. But your father is a great scholar, and must not be plagued with such matters. I owe him a great deal. He was very kind to me at Cambridge, and gave me the taste for reading, to which I owe the pleasantest hours of my life. So, when you and the lawyers have found out what the extent of the mischief is, you and I must see how we can best settle it.

"What the deuce! my young friend—I have no 'encumbrances,' as the servants, with great want of politeness, call wives and children. And I am not a miserable great landed millionnaire, like that poor dear Castleton, who owes so many duties to society that he can't spend a shilling, except in a grand way and purely to benefit the public. So go, my boy, to Trevanion's lawyer: he is mine too. Clever fellow—sharp as a needle. Mr Pike, in Great Ormond Street—name on a brass plate; and when he has settled the amount, we young scapegraces will help each other, without a word to the old folks." [298]

What good it does to a man, throughout life, to meet kindness and generosity like this in his youth!

I need not say that I was too faithful a representative of my father's scholarly pride, and susceptible independence of spirit, to accept this proposal; and probably Sir Sedley, rich and liberal as he was, did not dream of the extent to which his proposal might involve him. But I expressed my gratitude, so as to please and move this last relic of the De Coverleys, and went from his house straight to Mr Pike's office, with a little note of introduction from Sir Sedley. I found Mr Pike exactly the man I had anticipated from Trevanion's character—short, quick, intelligent, in question and answer; imposing, and somewhat domineering, in manner—not overcrowded with business, but with enough for experience and respectability; neither young nor old; neither a pedantic machine of parchment, nor a jaunty off-hand coxcomb of West End manners.

"It is an ugly affair," said he, "but one that requires management. Leave it all in my hands for three days. Don't go near Mr Tibbets, nor Mr Peck; and on Saturday next, at two o'clock, if you will call here, you shall know my opinion of the whole matter." With that Mr Pike glanced at the clock, and I took up my hat and went.

There is no place more delightful than a great capital, if you are comfortably settled in it—have arranged the methodical disposal of your time, and know how to take business and pleasure in due proportions. But a flying visit to a great capital, in an unsettled, unsatisfactory way—at an inn—an inn in the city, too—with a great worrying load of business on your mind, of which you are to hear no more for three days; and an aching, jealous, miserable sorrow at the heart, such as I had—leaving you no labour to pursue, and no pleasure that you have the heart to share in—oh, a great capital then is indeed forlorn, wearisome, and oppressive! It is the Castle of Indolence, not as Thomson built it, but as Beckford drew in his Hall of Eblis—a wandering up and down, to and fro—a great awful space, with your hand pressed to your heart; and—oh for a rush on some half-tamed horse, through the measureless green wastes of Australia! That is the place for a man who has no home in the Babel, and whose hand is ever pressing to his heart, with its dull, burning pain.

Mr Squills decoyed me the second evening into one of the small theatres; and very heartily did Mr Squills enjoy all he saw, and all he heard. And while, with a convulsive effort of the jaws, I was trying to laugh too, suddenly, in one of the actors, who was performing the worshipful part of a parish beadle, I recognised a face that I had seen before. Five minutes afterwards, I had disappeared from the side of Squills, and was amidst that strange world—BEHIND THE SCENES.

My beadle was much too busy and important to allow me a good opportunity to accost him, till the piece was over. I then seized hold of him, as he was amicably sharing a pot of porter with a gentleman in black shorts and a laced waistcoat, who was to play the part of a broken-hearted father in the Domestic Drama in Three Acts, that would conclude the amusements of the evening.

"Excuse me," said I apologetically; "but, as the Swan pertinently observes,—'Should auld acquaintance be forgot?'"

"The Swan, sir!" cried the beadle aghast—"the Swan never demeaned himself by such d—d broad Scotch as that!"

"The Tweed has its swans as well as the Avon, Mr Peacock."

"St—st—hush—hush—h—u—sh!" whispered the beadle in great alarm, and eyeing me, with savage observation, under his corked eyebrows. Then, taking me, by the arm, he jerked me away. When he had got as far as the narrow limits of that little stage would allow us, Mr Peacock said—

"Sir, you have the advantage of me; I don't remember you. Ah! you need not look!—by gad, sir, I am not to be bullied,—it was all fair play. If you will play with gentlemen, sir, you must run the consequences."

I hastened to appease the worthy man.[299]

"Indeed, Mr Peacock, if you remember, I refused to play with you; and, so far from wishing to offend you, I now come on purpose to compliment you on your excellent acting, and to inquire if you have heard anything lately of your young friend, Mr Vivian.

"Vivian?—never heard the name, sir. Vivian! Pooh, you are trying to hoax me; very good."

"I assure you, Mr Peac"—

"St—st—How the deuce did you know that I was once called Peac— that is, people called me Peac—A friendly nickname, no more—drop it, sir, or you 'touch me with noble anger!'"

"Well, well; 'the rose, by any name, will smell as sweet,' as the Swan, this time at least, judiciously observes. But Mr Vivian, too, seems to have other names at his disposal. I mean a young, dark, handsome man—or rather boy—with whom I met you in company by the roadside, one morning."

"O—h!" said Mr Peacock, looking much relieved, "I know whom you mean, though I don't remember to have had the pleasure of seeing you before. No; I have not heard anything of the young man lately. I wish I did know something of him. He was a 'gentleman in my own way.' Sweet Will has hit him off to a hair!—

'The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's eye, tongue, sword.'

Such a hand with a cue!—you should have seen him seek 'the bubble reputation at the cannon's mouth!' I may say, (continued Mr Peacock, emphatically,) that he was a regular trump—trump!" he reiterated with a start, as if the word had stung him—"trump! he was a BRICK!"

Then fixing his eyes on me, dropping his arms, interlacing his fingers, in the manner recorded of Talma in the celebrated "Qu'en dis-tu?" he resumed in a hollow voice, slow and distinct—

"When—saw—you—him,—young m—m—a—n—nnn?"

Finding the tables thus turned on myself, and not willing to give Mr Peac— any clue to poor Vivian—who thus appeared, to my great satisfaction, to have finally dropped an acquaintance more versatile than reputable—I contrived, by a few evasive sentences, to keep Mr Peac—'s curiosity at a distance, till he was summoned in haste to change his attire for the domestic drama. And so we parted.


I hate law details as cordially as my readers can, and therefore I shall content myself with stating that Mr Pike's management, at the end, not of three days, but of two weeks, was so admirable that Uncle Jack was drawn out of prison, and my father extracted from all his liabilities, by a sum two-thirds less than was first startlingly submitted to our indignant horror—and that, too, in a manner that would have satisfied the conscience of the most punctilious formalist, whose contribution to the national fund, for an omitted payment to the Income Tax. the Chancellor of the Exchequer ever had the honour to acknowledge. Still the sum was very large in proportion to my poor father's income; and what with Jack's debts, the claims of the Anti-Publisher Society's printer—including the very expensive plates that had been so lavishly bespoken, and in great part completed, for the History of Human Error—and, above all, the liabilities incurred on The Capitalist; what with the plant, as Mr Peck technically phrased a great upas-tree of a total, branching out into types, cases, printing-presses, engines, &c., all now to be resold at a third of their value; what with advertisements and bills, that had covered all the dead walls by which rubbish might be shot, throughout the three kingdoms; what with the dues of reporters, and salaries of writers, who had been engaged for a year at least to The Capitalist, and whose claims survived the wretch they had killed and buried; what, in short, with all that the combined ingenuity of Uncle Jack and printer Peck could [300] supply for the utter ruin of the Caxton family—even after all deductions, curtailments, and after all that one could extract in the way of just contribution from the least unsubstantial of those shadows called the shareholders—my father's fortune was reduced to little more than £8000, which being placed at mortgage, at 4 per cent, yielded just £372, 10s. a-year—enough for my father to live upon, but not enough to afford also his son Pisistratus the advantages of education at Trinity College, Cambridge. The blow fell rather upon me than my father, and my young shoulders bore it without much wincing.

This settled, to our universal satisfaction, I went to pay my farewell visit to Sir Sedley Beaudesert. He had made much of me, during my stay in London. I had breakfasted and dined with him pretty often; I had presented Squills to him, who no sooner set eyes upon that splendid conformation, than he described his character with the nicest accuracy as the necessary consequence of such a development for the rosy pleasures of life, and whose philosophy delighted and consoled Sir Sedley. We had never once retouched on the subject of Fanny's marriage, and both of us tacitly avoided even mentioning the Trevanions. But in this last visit, though he maintained the same reserve as to Fanny, he referred without scruple to her father.

"Well, my young Athenian," said he, after congratulating me on the result of the negotiations, and endeavouring again in vain to bear at least some share in my father's losses—"well, I see I cannot press this farther; but at least I can press on you any little interest I may have, in obtaining some appointment for yourself in one of the public offices. Trevanion could of course be more useful, but I can understand that he is not the kind of man you would like to apply to."

"Shall I own to you, my dear Sir Sedley, that I have no taste for official employment? I am too fond of my liberty. Since I have been at my uncle's old tower, I account for half my character by the Borderer's blood that is in me. I doubt if I am meant for the life of cities, and I have odd floating notions in my head, that will serve to amuse me when I get home, and may settle into schemes. And now, to change the subject, may I ask what kind of person has succeeded me as Mr Trevanion's secretary?"

"Why, he has got a broad-shouldered, stooping fellow, in spectacles and cotton stockings, who has written upon 'Rent,' I believe—an imaginative treatise in his case, I fear, poor man, for rent is a thing he could never have received, and not often been trusted to pay. However, he is one of your political economists, and wants Trevanion to sell his pictures, as 'unproductive capital.' Less mild than Pope's Narcissa, 'to make a wash,' he would certainly 'stew a child.' Besides this official secretary, Trevanion trusts, however, a good deal to a clever, good-looking young gentleman, who is a great favourite with him."

"What is his name?"

"His name?—oh, Gower—a natural son, I believe, of one of the Gower family."

Here two of Sir Sedley's fellow fine gentlemen lounged in, and my visit ended.


"I swear," cried my uncle, "that it shall be so;" and with a big frown, and a truculent air, he seized the fatal instrument.

"Indeed, brother, it must not," said my father, laying one pale, scholar-like hand mildly on Captain Roland's brown, bellicose, and bony fist; and with the other, outstretched, protecting the menaced, palpitating victim.

Not a word had my uncle heard of our losses, until they had been adjusted, and the sum paid; for we all knew that the old tower would have been gone—sold to some neighbouring squire or jobbing attorney—at the first impetuous impulse of Uncle Roland's [301] affectionate generosity. Austin endangered! Austin ruined!—he would never have rested till he came, cash in hand, to his deliverance. Therefore, I say, not till all was settled did I write to the Captain, and tell him gaily what had chanced. And, however light I made of our misfortunes, the letter brought the Captain to the red brick house the same evening on which I myself reached it, and about an hour later. My uncle had not sold the tower, but he came prepared to carry us off to it vi et armis. We must live with him, and on him—let or sell the brick house, and put out the remnant of my father's income to nurse and accumulate. And it was on finding my father's resistance stubborn, and that hitherto he had made no way,—that my uncle, stepping back into the hall, in which he had left his carpet-bag, &c., returned with an old oak case, and, touching a spring roller, out flew—the Caxton pedigree.

Out it flew—covering all the table, and undulating, Nile-like, till it had spread over books, papers, my mother's work-box, and the tea-service, (for the table was large and compendious, emblematic of its owner's mind)—and then, flowing on the carpet, dragged its slow length along, till it was stopped by the fender.

"Now," said my uncle solemnly, "there never have been but two causes of difference between you and me, Austin. One is over; why should the other last? Aha! I know why you hang back; you think that we may quarrel about it!"

"About what, Roland?"

"About it, I say—and I'll be d—d if we do!" cried my uncle, reddening, (I never heard him swear before.) "And I have been thinking a great deal upon the matter, and I have no doubt you are right. So I brought the old parchment with me, and you shall see me fill up the blank, just as you would have it. Now, then, you will come and live with me, and we can never quarrel any more."

Thus saying, Uncle Roland looked round for pen and ink; and, having found them—not without difficulty, for they had been submerged under the overflow of the pedigree—he was about to fill up the lacuna, or hiatus, which had given rise to such memorable controversy, with the name of "William Caxton, printer in the Sanctuary," when my father, slowly recovering his breath, and aware of his brother's purpose, intervened. It would have done your heart good to hear them—so completely, in the inconsistency of human nature, had they changed sides upon the question—my father now all for Sir William de Caxton, the hero of Bosworth; my uncle all for the immortal printer. And in this discussion they grew animated: their eyes sparkled, their voices rose—Roland's voice deep and thunderous, Austin's sharp and piercing. Mr Squills stopped his ears. Thus it arrived at that point, when my uncle doggedly came to the end of all argumentation—"I swear that it shall be so;" and my father, trying the last resource of pathos, looked pleadingly into Roland's eyes, and said, with a tone soft as mercy, "Indeed, brother, it must not." Meanwhile the dry parchment crisped, creaked, and trembled in every pore of its yellow skin.

"But," said I, coming in, opportunely, like the Horatian deity, "I don't see that either of you gentlemen has a right so to dispose of my ancestry. It is quite clear that a man has no possession in posterity. Posterity may possess him; but deuce a bit will he ever be the better for his great great-grandchildren!"

Squills.—Hear, hear!

Pisistratus—(warming.)—But a man's ancestry is a positive property to him. How much, not only of acres, but of his constitution, his temper, his conduct, character, and nature, he may inherit from some progenitor ten times removed! Nay, without that progenitor would he ever have been born—would a Squills ever have introduced him into the world, or a nurse ever have carried him upo kolpo?

Squills.—Hear, hear!

Pisistratus—(with dignified emotion)—No man, therefore, has a right to rob another of a forefather, with a stroke of his pen, from any motives, howsoever amiable. In the present instance, you will say, perhaps, that the ancestor in question is apocryphal—it may be the printer, it may be the knight. Granted; but here, where history is in fault, shall [302] a mere sentiment decide? While both are doubtful, my imagination appropriates both. At one time I can reverence industry and learning in the printer; at another, valour and devotion in the knight. This kindly doubt gives me two great forefathers; and, through them, two trains of idea that influence my conduct under different circumstances. I will not permit you, Captain Roland, to rob me of either forefather—either train of idea. Leave, then, this sacred void unfilled, unprofaned; and accept this compromise of chivalrous courtesy—while my father lives with the Captain, we will believe in the printer; when away from the Captain, we will stand firm to the knight."

"Good!" cried Uncle Roland, as I paused, a little out of breath.

"And," said my mother softly, "I do think, Austin, there is a way of settling the matter which will please all parties. It is quite sad to think that poor Roland, and dear little Blanche, should be all alone in the tower; and I am sure that we should be much happier altogether."

"There!" cried Roland, triumphantly. "If you are not the most obstinate, hardhearted, unfeeling brute in the world—which I don't take you to be—brother Austin, after that really beautiful speech of your wife's, there is not a word to be said farther."

"But we have not yet heard Kitty to the end, Roland."

"I beg your pardon, a thousand times, ma'am—sister," said the Captain, bowing.

"Well, I was going to add," said my mother, "that we will go and live with you, Roland, and club our little fortunes together. Blanche and I will take care of the house, and we shall be just twice as rich together as we are separately."

"Pretty sort of hospitality that!" grunted the Captain. "I did not expect you to throw me over in that way. No, no; you must lay by for the boy there,—what's to become of him?"

"But we shall all lay by for him," said my mother simply; "you as well as Austin. We shall have more to save, if we have both more to spend."

"Ah, save!—that is easily said: there would be a pleasure in saving, then!" said the Captain mournfully.

"And what's to become of me?" cried Squills, very petulantly. "Am I to be left here, in my old age—not a rational soul to speak to, and no other place in the village where there's a drop of decent punch to be had! 'A plague on both your houses'! as the chap said at the theatre the other night."

"There's room for a doctor in our neighbourhood, Mr Squills," said the Captain. "The gentleman in your profession who does for us, wants, I know, to sell the business."

"Humph!" said Squills—"a horrible healthy neighbourhood, I suspect!"

"Why, it has that misfortune, Mr Squills; but with your help," said my uncle slily, "a great alteration for the better may be effected in that respect."

Mr Squills was about to reply, when ring—a-ting—ring—ting! there came such a brisk, impatient, make-one's-self-at-home kind of tintanabular alarum at the great gate, that we all started up and looked at each other in surprise. Who could it possibly be? We were not kept long in suspense; for, in another moment, Uncle Jack's voice, which was always very clear and distinct, pealed through the hall; and we were still staring at each other when Mr Tibbets, with a bran-new muffler round his neck, and a peculiarly comfortable, greatcoat—best double Saxony, equally new—dashed into the room, bringing with him a very considerable quantity of cold air, which he hastened to thaw, first in my father's arms, next in my mother's. He then made a rush at the Captain, who ensconced himself behind the dumb waiter with a "Hem! Mr—sir—Jack—sir—hem, hem!" Failing there, Mr Tibbets rubbed off the remaining frost upon his double Saxony against your humble servant; patted Squills affectionately on the back, and then proceeded to occupy his favourite position before the fire.

"Took you by surprise, eh?" said Uncle Jack, unpeeling himself by the hearth-rug. "But no—not by surprise; you must have known Jack's heart: you at least, Austin Caxton, who know everything—you must have seen that it overflowed, with the tenderest [303] and most brotherly emotions; that, once delivered from that cursed Fleet, (you have no idea what a place it is, sir,) I could not rest, night or day, till I had flown here—here, to the dear family nest—poor wounded dove that I am!" added Uncle Jack pathetically, and taking out his pocket-handkerchief from the double Saxony, which he had now flung over my father's arm-chair.

Not a word replied to this eloquent address, with its touching peroration. My mother hung down her pretty head, and looked ashamed. My uncle retreated quite into the corner, and drew the dumb waiter after him, so as to establish a complete fortification. Mr Squills seized the pen that Roland had thrown down, and began mending it furiously—that is, cutting it into slivers—thereby denoting, symbolically, how he would like to do with Uncle Jack, could he once get him safe and snug under his manipular operations. I leant over the pedigree, and my father rubbed his spectacles.

The silence would have been appalling to another man: nothing appalled Uncle Jack.

Uncle Jack turned to the fire, and warmed first one foot, then the other. This comfortable ceremony performed, he again faced the company—and resumed musingly, and as if answering some imaginary observations—

"Yes, yes—you are right there—and a deuced unlucky speculation it proved too. But I was overruled by that fellow Peck. Says I to him—says I—'Capitalist! pshaw—no popular interest there—it don't address the great public! Very confined class the capitalists; better throw ourselves boldly on the people. Yes,' said I, 'call it the anti-Capitalist.' By Jove, sir, we should have carried all before us! but I was overruled. The Anti-Capitalist!—what an idea! Address the whole reading world then, sir: everybody hates the capitalist—everybody would have his neighbour's money. The Anti-Capitalist!—sir, we should have gone off, in the manufacturing towns, like wildfire. But what could I do?"—

"John Tibbets," said my father solemnly, "capitalist or anti-capitalist, thou hadst a right to follow thine own bent, in either—but always provided it had been with thine own money. Thou see'st not the thing, John Tibbets, in the right point of view; and a little repentance, in the face of those thou hast wronged, would not have misbecome thy father's son, and thy sister's brother!"—

Never had so severe a rebuke issued from the mild lips of Austin Caxton; and I raised my eyes with a compassionate thrill, expecting to see John Tibbets gradually sink and disappear through the carpet.

"Repentance!" cried Uncle Jack, bounding up, as if he had been shot. "And do you think I have a heart of stone, of pummy-stone!—do you think I don't repent? I have done nothing but repent—I shall repent to my dying day."

"Then there is no more to be said, Jack," cried my father, softening, and holding out his hand.

"Yes!" cried Mr Tibbets, seizing the hand, and pressing it to the heart he had thus defended from the suspicion of being pummy—"yes—that I should have trusted that dunder-headed, rascally, curmudgeon Peck: that I should have let him call it The Capitalist, despite all my convictions, when the Anti——"

"Pshaw!" interrupted my father, drawing away his hand.

"John," said my mother gravely, and with tears in her voice, "you forget who delivered you from prison,—you forget whom you have nearly consigned to prison yourself,—you forg—"

"Hush, hush!" said my father, "this will never do; and it is you who forget, my dear, the obligations I owe to Jack. He has reduced my fortune one half, it is true; but I verily think he has made the three hearts, in which lie my real treasures, twice as large as they were before. Pisistratus, my boy, ring the bell."

"My dear Kitty," cried Jack, whimperingly, and stealing up to my mother, "don't be so hard on me; I thought to make all your fortunes—I did, indeed."

Here the servant entered.

"See that Mr Tibbets' things are taken up to his room, and that there is a good fire," said my father.

"And," continued Jack, loftily, "I [304] will make all your fortunes yet. I have it here!" and he struck his head.

"Stay a moment," said my father to the servant, who had got back to the door. "Stay a moment," said my father, looking extremely frightened; "perhaps Mr Tibbets may prefer the inn?"

"Austin," said Uncle Jack with emotion, "if I were a dog, with no home but a dog-kennel, and you came to me for shelter, I would turn out—to give you the best of the straw!"

My father was thoroughly melted this time.

"Primmins will be sure to see everything is made comfortable for Mr Tibbets," said he, waving his hand to the servant. "Something nice for supper, Kitty, my dear—and the largest punch-bowl. You like punch, Jack?"

"Punch, Austin!" said Uncle Jack, putting his handkerchief to his eyes.

The Captain pushed aside the dumb waiter, strode across the room, and shook hands with Uncle Jack; my mother buried her face in her apron, and fairly ran off; and Squills said in my ear, "It all comes of the biliary secretions. Nobody could account for this, who did not know the peculiarly fine organisation of your father's—liver!"


If we wished to convert some inveterate democrat—some one of those eternal agitators of political and social revolutions—whose reasonings, though perhaps unconsciously to themselves, are all based on a far too sanguine view of the probable destinies of human society—there is no text-book we should more willingly select than this mad and apparently destructive work of M. Prudhon's. The bold development of those fundamental truths which have hitherto determined the framework of society, and, still more, the display it presents of the utter impotence of the wit of man, and all his speculative ingenuity, to reshape and reorganise the social world, must have, on every mind accustomed to reflection, a most sobering and conservative influence. What it was intended to teach is another matter; but to a mind well constituted it would convey this grave lesson—to recognise and submit to the inevitable; to be content to labour for partial remedies and limited results; to be satisfied with doing good, though it be something short of organic change; to think it sufficient ambition to be of that "salt of the earth" which preserves whatever is pure and excellent, without aspiring to be that consuming flame which is to fuse and recast the world.

Such was the reflection with which we closed the perusal of the Contradictions Economiques; and this reflection has led us to the present notice of a work which was not originally taken up with the intention of bringing it before our readers. We were referred to it as the work in which a man who has obtained unenviable notoriety had most systematically developed his ideas. Whether it is so, or not, we do not pledge ourselves to decide: we have had enough of Prudhonerie. But after a perusal, induced by mere curiosity, it occurred to us that some brief account of the book, and of the train of thought which it had suggested to us, and would probably suggest to most English readers, would not be unacceptable.

It is worthy of remark, that it is not uniformly from the most perfect works that we derive the greatest stimulant to thinking, or the largest supply of food for reflection. Many an important step in intellectual progress has been due to an author, not one of whose views have been finally adopted, or would have borne perhaps a searching examination. The startling effect of paradox—the conflict with it—the perplexing entanglement of known truth with manifest error,—all this has supplied a more bracing and vigorous exercise for the mind, than lucid tenets lucidly set forth by [305] writers of unimpeachable good sense. God forbid that any one should accuse us of saying, that it is better to read a bad book than a good one; this would be the greatest of all absurdities; but there are eras in our mental progress when much is gained by the contest with bold and subtle fallacies. There is not a book in our own language more replete with paradox and sophistry, with half truths and tortuous reasonings, than Godwin's Political Justice; yet we doubt not there are those living who would acknowledge that the perusal of that once, and for a short time, celebrated treatise, did more, by the incessant combat it provoked, to make evident to them the real constitution of human society, than the smooth sagacity of a hundred Paleys could have done.

Indeed, when we compare the Political Justice with the reveries of Communism, so rife amongst our neighbours, we feel proud of our English dreamer. Godwin's scheme was somewhat as if one of the ancient stoics, not content with imposing upon his wise man rules of conduct quite independent of all human passions and affections, had resolved that the whole multitude of the species should demean themselves according to the same impracticable rules, and should learn to live, and labour, and enjoy, like reasoning automata. Under the light diffused upon them by the author of the Political Justice, men were to set aside all selfishness—all their natural, and even kindly affections—and to act in unceasing conformity to certain abstractions of the reasoning faculty; were, in short, neither to love nor to hate; but, sitting in eternal judgment over themselves, were simply to reason and to act. Like the iron figures that formerly stood elevated above the living crowd of Fleet Street, on either side of the venerable clock of St Dunstan's, they were to keep their eye fixed on the dial-plate of a most well-regulated conscience; and ever, as the hour came round, they were to rise and strike, and then subside into their metallic repose. Still, however, the great sentiment of justice, to which Godwin made his appeal, afforded him a far more noble and manly topic than the affected philanthropy on which so many Frenchmen have been descanting. Justice, though not understood after the manner of Mr Godwin, is a sentiment which really lives and moves in the very heart of society. Men respond to an appeal to their sense of justice; they become ungovernable if that sense of justice is long outraged; they work upon this sentiment; they can labour and endure according to its dictates: but for this philanthropy, or fraternity, of which we hear so much—what has it ever done? It never regulated the transactions of a single day; never produced a grain of corn, or a shred of apparel; produces nothing but theories. It is a vain, importunate, idle, and clamorous sentiment: it is justice all on one side; it demands incessantly, it gives never; it has hands to petition with, to clutch with, to rob with, to murder with, but not to work with; it has no hand that holds the plough, or strikes upon the anvil.

The Système des Contradictions Economiques may lay claim to the same sort of praise we have accorded to the Political Justice: it prompts reflection; and a man of intellect sufficiently robust to profit by such rude gymnastics, will not regret its perusal. It also avoids, like the work of Godwin, the pernicious cant of universal philanthropy—pernicious when brought forward as a general motive of human actions—and looks for a renovation of society in a more enlightened sentiment of justice—determining anew the value of each man's labour, and securing to him that value—property being legitimate only (so far as we can understand our author) when it contains in it the labour of the proprietor. How Justice is to execute the task which M. Prudhon, in very vague and mysterious terms, imposes upon her, we have not the least idea; nor has an attentive perusal of his book given us the remotest conception of any practical scheme that he would even make experiment of. But, at all events, it is better to descant on the energetic sentiment of justice, which desires to earn and keep its own, than on the idle sublimities of a universal fraternity—a sentiment which relaxes the springs of industry, by teaching every [306] man to expect everything from his neighbours, or from an omnipotent abstraction he calls the state. It is a difference of some importance, because all these schemes for the renovation of society do, in fact, end in a sort of moral or immoral preachment.

When we have said thus much, and added that M. Prudhon attacks the Communists, of all shades and descriptions, in a quite overwhelming manner, utterly crushing and annihilating them,—we have said the utmost that can be admitted, or devised, in praise of his work. It would require a much longer paragraph to exhaust all that might be justly said in its condemnation. It is strewed over, knee-deep, with metaphysical trash. It is steeped in atheism, or something worse, and infinitely more foolish; for there is a pretence of sustaining "the hypothesis" of a God, for no other ostensible reason than to provide an object for the blasphemy that follows. The rudest savages, in their first conception of a God, regard him as an enemy, and offer sacrifices to propitiate an unprovoked and wanton anger—the reflected image of their own wild passions. M. Prudhon's philosophy has actually brought him, in one respect, back to the creed of the savages. He proves, by some insane process not worth following, that the Creator of man is essentially opposed to the progress of human society, and is to be utterly deserted, desecrated, defied. He does not, indeed, sacrifice, like the savage; he rather talks rebellion, like Satan. No one would believe, who had not read the book, with what a mixture of outrage and levity he speaks of the most sacred of all beings: it is the doctrine of the rebel-fiend taught with the gesticulation of a satyr.

We shall not quote a single passage to justify this censure, for the same reason that we should not extract the indecencies of a volume in order to prove the charge of obscenity. Why should the ear be wounded, or the mind soiled and disgusted, when no end is answered except the conviction of an offender who, utterly dead to shame, rejoices to see his impurities or impieties pitched abroad?

Notwithstanding that formidable appearance of metaphysics to which we have alluded—his Kant and his Hegel, his thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, and all his pretensions to extraordinary profundity—it so happens that the very first elements of that science of political economy, which he affects to look down upon as from a higher level, are often miserably misapprehended; or—what is certainly not more to his credit—they are thrown, for a season, into a wilful oblivion. If he is discoursing upon the division of labour, and its effect upon the remuneration of the workman, he ignores, for the time being, the manifest relation between population and wages, and represents the wages as decreasing only because the nature of the work required becomes more and more simple and mechanical. If he is discoursing upon population, and its pressure upon the means of subsistence, he can venture to forget the very laws of nature. "You state," he says, "that population increases in a geometrical ratio—1, 2, 4, 8, 16; well, I will show that capital and wealth follow a law of progression more rapid still, of which each term may be considered as the square of the corresponding number of the geometrical series, as 1, 4, 16, 64, 256."[6] Since all our wealth is derived originally from the soil, man must, therefore, have it in his power to increase the fertility of the soil according to the above ratio. It will be something new to our farmers to learn this.

In compensation, we presume, for this occasional oblivion of the truisms of political economy—truisms, in fact, of common sense—we have, here and there, strange and novel definitions and explanations, ushered in with that pomp which an egotistical Frenchman can alone display, and turning out to be as idle verbiage as was ever penned. Take, as the first specimen we can call to mind, the following definition of labour. We cannot attempt to translate it: the English language does not easily mould itself to nonsense of this sort:—"Qu'est-ce donc que le travail? Nul encore ne l'a défini. Le travail est l'émission de l'esprit. Travailler, c'est dépenser [307] sa vie; travailler, en un mot, c'est se dévouer, c'est mourir. Que les utopistes ne nous parlent plus de dévoûment: c'est le travail, exprimé et mesuré par ses œuvres."—(Vol. ii., p. 465.) Labour needed to be defined, it seemed; and this is the definition, "L'émission de l'esprit!" And in play, then, as well as in work, is there no emission of the spirits, or mind, or life of the man? Did M. Prudhon never run a race, or handle a bat at cricket, or ride with the hounds? or can he not remember that such things are, though not in his philosophy? But dear, inexpressibly dear to M. Prudhon, is every idea of his own that savours of paradox; and the more it violates common sense, the more tenderly he clings to it, cherishes, and vaunts it. This, doubtless, is one of his favourite children. His celebrated aphorism, "La Propriété c'est le vol,"—he contradicts it himself in every page of his writings, yet boasts and cherishes it as his greatest possession, and the most remarkable discovery of the age. "La définition de la propriété," he says, in answer to a sarcasm of M. Michelet, "est mienne, et toute mon ambition est de prouver que j'en ai compris le sens et l'étendue. La propriété c'est le vol! il ne se dit pas, en mille ans, deux mots comme celui-là. Je n'ai d'autre bien sur la terre que cette définition de la propriété: mais je la tiens plus précieuse que les millions des Rothschild, et j'ose dire qu'elle sera l'évènement le plus considérable du gouvernement de Louis-Philippe."—(Vol. ii., p. 328.)

Even in that tenebrous philosophy which he has imported from Germany, and which he teaches with such caustic condescension to the political economists, he is very much at fault. It is always, we know, an adventurous matter to accuse any one who deals in the idealistic metaphysics of modern Germany of obscurity, or of imperfect knowledge of the theories taught in his own school. The man has but to dive into deeper mud to escape from you. Follow him you assuredly cannot; he is out of sight, and the thick sediment deters; and thus, in the eyes of all who are not aware what the capture would cost to any hapless pursuer, the fugitive is sure of his triumph. Nevertheless, we venture to assert that M. Prudhon is but a young, and a not very promising scholar in the philosophy of Kant and of Hegel. Two very manifest blunders it will be enough to indicate: he assimilates his Contradictions Economiques to the Antinomies of the Pure Reason developed by Kant; and he confounds Kant with Hegel in a matter where they are widely opposed, and speaks as if the same law of contradiction were common to both.

After alluding to some of his own "contradictions," he says, "Tel est encore le problème de la divisibilité de la matière à l'infini, que Kant a démontré pouvoir être nié et affirmé, tour-à-tour, par des arguments également plausibles et irréfutables."—(Vol. i. p. 43.) It is the object of Kant, in one of the most striking portions of the Critique of Pure Reason, to show that, in certain problems, the mind is capable of being led with equal force of conviction to directly opposite conclusions. The pure reason, it seems, gets hold of the forms of the understanding, and can extract nothing from them but a series of antinomies, like that which M. Prudhon has alluded to, where the infinite divisibility of matter is both proved and disproved with equal success. Now what analogy is there between the contradictions which M. Prudhon can develop, in any one of our social laws, and the antinomies of Kant? In these last, two opposite conclusions of speculative reason are arrived at, which destroy each other; in the Contradictions Economiques, the good and evil flowing from the same law may very easily co-exist. They affect different persons, or the same persons at different times. Free competition, for instance, in trade or manufacture, may be viewed on its bright side as the promoter of industry and invention; on its dark side as the fomenter of strife, and the inflicter of injury on those who lose in the game of wealth. But the benefit and injury arising from this source do not destroy each other, like the yes and no of an abstract proposition; they can be balanced against each other; they co-exist, and, for aught we see, will eternally co-exist. Let them be as strikingly [308] opposed as you will, they can have nothing in common with the antinomies of Kant. M. Prudhon proves that there is darkness and brightness scattered over the surface of society: he does not prove that the same spot, at the same moment, is both black and white.

From Kant he slides to Hegel, as if their tenets on this subject at all resembled each other. Kant saw in his contradictions an arrest of the reason, Hegel the very principle and condition of all thought. Thought involves contradictions. In the simplest idea, that of being, is involved the idea of no-being; neither can we think of no-being without having the idea of being. Now as thought and thing are identical in the absolute, (this every one knows,) whatever may be said of the thought may be said of the thing, and hence the celebrated formula, Being = no being—sein = nicht sein—something and nothing are identical.

As thought and thing are identical in the absolute, logic is a creation and creation is a logic; thus the metaphysics of Hegel became a cosmogony in which all things proceed according to the laws of thought, and are therefore developed in a series of contradictions. Now let M. Prudhon be as thorough master of the Hegelian logic, or the Hegelian cosmogony, as he desires to be esteemed, how, in the name of common sense, can he hope to clear up the difficulties of political economy by mixing them with a philosophy like this? How will his thesis and his antithesis help us to adjust the claims between labour and capital? If he has any adjustment to propose—if he has found what he calls his synthesis—let us hear it. If the synthesis is only to be developed in those future evolutions of time, which neither he nor we can divine, of what use all this angry exposition of the inevitable Contradictions that mark and constitute the progress of humanity?

Enough of these metaphysics. It was necessary to say this much of the peculiar form into which M. Prudhon has chosen to cast his thoughts; but there will be no occasion to allude to it again. Whatever there is of truth or significance in his work, may easily be transferred into a language familiar and intelligible to all.

We have eaten, says one, of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the taste of them has been thenceforth invariably blended together. There is a law of compensation—thus another expresses it—throughout the world, both moral and physical, by which every evil is balanced by its good, and every good by its besetting evil. Humanity, says a third, progresses without doubt, and obtains at each stage a fuller and a higher life; but there is an original proportion of misery in its lot, from which there is no escape: this also swells and darkens as we rise. To use the language of chemistry, you may increase the volume of this ambient life we breathe, but still, to every one-hundred part of vital air there shall be added twenty-five of mephitic vapour. All these are different modes of expressing the homely truth, that a shadow of evil falls even from the best of things; and it is this truth which is really developed in the Contradictions Economiques.

It is a truth which, at times, it may be very needful fully to recognise. When men of sincere convictions are found agitating society for some organic change, their errors may be always traced to an over-sanguine and one-sided view of the capabilities of man for happiness. The conservative and the movement parties, philosophically considered, may be described as branching out of different opinions on the probable or possible progress of society. The philosophical conservative has accepted humanity as it is—as, in its great features, it is exhibited throughout all regions of the earth, and in the page of history: he hails with welcome every addition to human happiness; he believes in progress, he derides the notion of perfectibility,—it is a word he cannot use; he recognises much happiness coming in to mankind from many and various sources, but still believes that man will never find himself so content on earth as to cease looking forward for the complement and perfection of his felicity to another world. The philosopher of the movement party has made a sort of religion of his hopes of humanity: he conceives some ideal state, and anticipates its development [309] here; he dismantles heaven and immortality to furnish out his masquerade on earth; or, with still vaguer notions, he rushes forward upon reforms that imply, for their justification, the existence of what never yet was seen—a temperate and enlightened multitude.

It follows that the conservative has allotted to him the ungracious and invidious task of discouraging the hopes of a too eager philanthropy; he is compelled to show, of certain evils, that they are constantly to be contended against, but never can be eradicated. Society has been often compared to a pyramid; its broad basis on the earth, and towering high or not, according as circumstances were propitious to its formation; but always the broad basis lying on the earth. He accepts the ancient simile; he recognises the unalterable pyramid. Without aid of priest or legislator, society assumes this form; it crystallises thus; higher and higher, broader and broader, it rises, and extends, but still the lowest stratum is lying close upon the earth. Will you disguise the fact? It is fruitless, and the falsehood only recoils upon yourself, rendering what truth you utter weak and suspicious. Will you strive to make the pyramid stand upon its apex? It will not stand; and what god or giant have you to hold it there? Or will you join the madman, who, because the lowest stratum cannot be made the highest, nor any other but the lowest, would level the whole pyramid to the ground, and make every part touch the earth? No; you will do all in your power for that lowest stratum, but you will not consent that, because all cannot be cultivated and refined, no one shall have a chance of becoming so. You accept the pyramid.

When M. Prudhon criticises the laws which preside over the production and distribution of wealth, and shows their twofold and antagonistic influence, he is but illustrating the inevitable formation of our pyramid. Let us follow him in a few instances.

The Division of Labour.—This is the first topic on which our author descants—the first of our economic laws in which he finds his contradictions—his two poles of good and evil. On the advantages of the division of labour, we have but to call to mind the earlier chapters of Adam Smith, wherein these are so truthfully and vividly described. Indeed, the least reflection is sufficient to show that, if each man undertook by his own labour to provide for all his wants, it would be impossible for society to advance beyond the very rudest form of existence. One man must be tailor, another shoemaker, another agriculturist, another artist; and these trades or occupations, to be brought to perfection, must again be subdivided into different departments of industry—and one man makes the coat, and another weaves the cloth, one man makes the shoe, and another dresses the leather. It is needless to say that these departments are again divided into an almost infinite number of separate occupations; till, at length, we find that a man employs his whole day in turning one thread over another, or in manufacturing the eighteenth part of a pin.

But now, no sooner does this division of employments obtain in society, than our pyramid begins to form. The man of manual labour rests still at the basis; he of superior skill, the artist, or the intellectual workman, rises permanently above him. The more minute this division of labour, the more simple and mechanical becomes the labour of the artisan; the education he receives from his employment becomes more and more limited; he is wanted for so little; he is esteemed, and, if other circumstances permit, remunerated accordingly.

"Although," says the celebrated economist, J. B. Say, "a man who performs one operation all his life comes to execute it better and more rapidly than any other man, yet at the same time he grows less capable of every other occupation, physical and moral; his other faculties are extinguished, and there results a degradation to the human being considered individually. It is a sad account to give of one's-self to have accomplished nothing but the eighteenth part of a pin.... In conclusion, it may be said that the separation of labours is a skilful employment of the force of man—that it increases prodigiously the products of society—but it destroys something of the capacity of the individual man." [310]

That this inevitable division and subdivision of labour gives rise to, and renders permanent, the distinction of classes in a community, is clear enough. But we do not agree with M. Say, and other economists, in representing that minute subdivision of labour which accompanies a very advanced state of civilisation, as peculiarly injurious to the workman. That degradation of the artisan, which might ensue from the monotony and triviality of his employment, is counteracted by that variety of interests which spring up in a civilised community. This eighteenth part of a pin is not all that educates or engages his mind. He is not a solitary workman. His file and his wire are not his sole companions. He has the gossip of his neighbourhood, the politics of his parish, of his town, of his country—whatever fills the columns of a newspaper, or gives topic of conversation to a populous city—he has, at least, all this for intellectual food. The man of handicraft is educated by the city he lives in, not by his handicraft; and the humblest artisan feels the influence of that higher civilisation from which he seems at first to be entirely shut out. Hodge the countryman, who can sow, and plough, and reap; who understands hedging and ditching, and the management of sheep; who is accomplished in all agricultural labours, ought to be, if his daily avocations alone decided the matter, infinitely superior to the village cobbler, who travels only from the sole to the upper leather, and who squats stitching all day long. But the cobbler is generally the more knowing, and certainly the more talkative man. Hodge himself is the first to recognise it; for he listens to him at the ale-house, which sometimes brings them together, as to an oracle of wisdom.

Machinery.—The benefit derived from machinery needs no explanation. The more simple order of machines, or instruments—as the plough, the axe, and the spindle—have never been otherwise considered than as precious gifts to human industry; and the more complicated machines, which have been invented in modern times, have no sooner established themselves, so to speak, in society—have no sooner, at the expense of some temporary evils, secured themselves a quiet recognised position—than they, too, have been welcomed in the same character as signal aids to human industry. But while the machine has added immensely to the products of labour, it has done nothing to diminish the class of manual labours. It has done nothing, nor does it seem probable that it will ever effect anything, towards rendering that class less requisite or less numerous. On the contrary, it has always, hitherto, multiplied that class. The machine will not go of itself, will not manufacture itself, nor keep itself in repair. The human labourer becomes the slave of the machine. He created it for his service, and it serves him, but on condition only that he binds himself to a reciprocal bondage. You spin by a steam-engine, and some complicated system of reels and pulleys, but the human finger is not spared—the human volition is still wanted. To manufacture this machine, to tend it, to govern it—in short, to use it—far more manual labour is called into requisition than ever turned the simple spinning-wheel, or teased the flax from the distaff. You have more garments woven, but the better clad are not exactly those who weave them. The machine has called into existence, for its own service, an immense population, ill fed and ill clothed. Our pyramid is extending at the basis: as it rises higher it is growing broader.

Money—Capital.—We class these together because they are intimately connected. Capital is not money, but there would have been little accumulation of capital but for the use of money.

The youthful student of political economy meets with no chapter in his books of science so amusing, and so thoroughly convincing, as that which shows him the utility of money, and the reasons which have led almost all nations to prefer the precious metals for their instruments of exchange. Without some such instrument, what is to be done? A man has made a hat, and wants a pound of butter. He cannot divide his hat: what would be half a hat? Besides, the man who has the butter does not want the hat. But the precious metals come in marvellously to his aid. They are divisible into the smallest portions; they are durable, will not spoil by keeping; [311] they are of steady value, and will not much depreciate: if the man of butter does not want them, he can always find somebody that does; no fear but that they will easily pass from hand to hand, as each one wishes to barter them for whatever he may want.

It is generally said, that it is the steadiness of their value that constituted one chief reason for the selection of gold and silver for the purposes of money. This is undoubtedly true; but it is also true (and we do not remember to have heard this previously remarked) that the use of the precious metals for money has tended to preserve and perpetuate that steadiness of value. Had gold and silver remained as simple articles of merchandise, they would probably have suffered considerable fluctuations in their value from the caprice of fashion and the altered taste of society. In themselves, they were chiefly articles of luxury; the employment of them for money made them objects of indispensable utility.

Money there must be. Yet mark how its introduction tends to destroy equality, to favour accumulation, to raise the hill and sink the valley. If men bartered article against article, they would generally barter in order to consume. But when one of them barters for gold, he can lay it by; he can postpone at his pleasure the period of consumption; he can postpone it for the benefit of his issue. The piece of gold was bought originally with the sweat of his brow; who shall say that a year, ten years, fifty years hence, he may not traffic it again for the sweat of the brow? The pieces of gold accumulate, his children possess them, and now a generation appears on the face of the earth who have not toiled, who do not toil all their lives, who are sustained in virtue of the labours of their ancestor. Their fathers saved, and they enjoy; or they employ a part of the accumulation in the purchase of the labour of others, by which means their riches still further increase. The pyramid rises. But the descendants of those fathers who had consumed the product of their labour, they bring no postponed claim into the market. These are they who must sell their labour. They must work for the children of those who had saved. Our pyramid broadens at the base. This perpetual value given to money has enabled the man of one generation to tax all ensuing generations with the support of his offspring. Hence much good; for hence the leisure that permits the cultivation of the mind, that fosters art, and refinement, and reflection: we have to notice here only how inevitably it builds the pyramid.

And now two classes are formed, distinct and far asunder—the capitalist, and he who works for wages. Comes the social reformer, and he would restore the equality between them. But how? We will fuse, says one, the two classes together: they shall carry on their manufacture in a joint partnership: all shall be partners—all shall be workmen. But even M. Prudhon will tell us that, if the profits of the great capitalist were divided equally amongst all the artisans he employs, each one would find his gains increased by a very little; and it is morally certain that profits equal to those he had obtained would never accrue from a partnership of many hundreds of workmen. The wealth of the country would, therefore, be put in jeopardy, and all the course of its industry and property deranged, for no end whatever. At all events, exclaims another, we will reduce the inequality which we cannot expunge, and put down the enormous and tyrannical capitalist: we will have a law limiting the fortune of each individual to so many hundreds or thousands; or, if we allow a man to earn and appropriate unlimited wealth, we will take care that it shall be dispersed at his death,—not even to his son shall he be permitted to bequeath more than a certain sum. But all schemes of this kind can tend only to equalise the fortunes of the first class—those who employ labour; they do not affect, in the least, the condition of the second class—the employed. These will not obtain better wages from smaller capitalists than from larger. A third—it is M. Prudhon himself—will have a new law of value established, and a new law of property. It is labour only that shall give title to property, and the exchangeable value of every article shall be regulated according to the labour it may be said to contain: [312] propositions, however, which do not help us in the least degree, for capital is itself the produce of labour; its claims, therefore, are legitimate; and the very problem given is to arbitrate between the claims of capital and labour.

Rent and Property in Land.—This is the last topic we shall mention. The absolute necessity of property in land, in order that the soil should be cultivated, (that is, under any condition in which humanity has hitherto presented itself,) is a palpable truism. Yet property in land leads to the exaction of rent—leads to the same division which we have seen marked out by so many laws between two classes of society—those who may enjoy leisure, and those who must submit to labour; classes which are generally distinguished as the rich and poor, never, we may observe in passing, as the happy and unhappy, for leisure may be as great a curse as labour.

It is true that large estates in land exist before corresponding accumulations of capital have been made in commerce, for land is often seized by the mere right of conquest; but still these large possessions would certainly arise as a nation increased its wealth. The man who has cultivated land successfully will add field to field; and he who has gained a large sum of money by commerce, or manufacture, will purchase land with it. The fact therefore, that, in the early period of a nation's history, the soil has been usurped by conquest, or by the sheer right of the strongest, interferes not at all with the real nature of that property; as, independently of this accident of conquest, land would have become portioned in the same unequal manner by the operation of purely economical causes. Just in the same way, the fact that warlike nations have subjected their captives to slavery—imposed the labours of life on slaves—cannot be said to have had any influence in originating the existence, at the present time, of a class of working people.

Thus every law of political economy, having, as it were, its two poles, upwards and downwards, helps to erect our pyramid. Religion, education, charity, permeate the whole mass, and labour to rectify the apparent injustice of fortune. Admirable is their influence: but yet we cannot build on any other model than this.

"Nay, but we can!" exclaim the Communists; and forthwith they project a complete demolition of the old pyramid, and the erection of a series of parallelogram palaces, all level with the earth, and palace every inch of them.

We have said that M. Prudhon is a formidable adversary of these Communists—the more formidable from the having himself no great attachment to "things as they are." His exposition of the manifold absurdities and self-contradictions into which they fall, may possibly render good service to his countrymen. Especially we were glad to see, that on the subject of marriage he is quite sound. No one could more distinctly perceive, or more forcibly state, the intimate connexion that lies between property and marriage. "Mais, c'est surtout dans la famille que se decouvre le sens profond de la propriété. La famille et la propriété marchent de front, appuyées l'une sur l'autre, n'ayant l'une et l'autre de signification, et de valeur, que par le rapport qui les unit. Avec la propriété commence le rôle de la femme. Le ménage—cette chose toute idéale, et que l'on s'efforce en vain de rendre ridicule—le ménage est le royaume de la femme, le monument de la famille. Otez le ménage, otez cette pierre du foyer, centre d'attraction des époux, il reste des couples, il n'y a plus de familles."—(Vol. ii. 253.)

In this country, happily, it would be superfluous—a mere slaying of the slain—to expose the folly of these Utopias. Utopias indeed!—that would deprive men of personal liberty, of domestic affection, of everything that is most valued in life, to shut them up in a strange building which is to be palace, prison, and workhouse, all in one; which must have a good deal of the workhouse, if it has anything of the palace, and will probably have more of the prison in it than either.

Briefly, the case may be stated thus:—The cost of such a community would be liberty, marriage, enterprise, hope, and generosity—for, under such an institution, what could any man have to give or receive? The gain would be [313] task-work for all, board and lodging for all, and a shameless sensuality; the working-bell, the dinner-bell, and the curfew. It would be a sacrifice of all that is high, ennobling, and spiritual, to all that is material, animal, and vile.

But if men think otherwise of the fraternal community—if they think that, because philanthropy presides, or seems to preside, over its formation, that therefore philanthropy will continue to animate all its daily functions—why do they not voluntarily unite and form this community? They are fond of quoting the example of the early Christians; these were really under the influence of a fraternal sentiment, and acted on it: let them do likewise, there is nothing to prevent them. But no: the French Socialist sees in imagination a whole state working for him; he has no idea of commencing by practising the stern virtues of industry, and abstinence, and fortitude. His mode of thinking is this—a certain being called Society is to do everything for him—at the cost, perhaps, of some slight service rendered upon his part. If he is poor, it is society that keeps him so; if he is vicious, it is society that makes him so—upon society rest all our crimes, and devolve all our duties.

There lies the great mischief of promulgating these impracticable theories of Communism. All is taught as being done for the individual. The egregious error is committed of trusting all to a certain organisation of society, which is to be a substitute for the moral efforts of individual man. Patience, fortitude, self-sacrifice, a high sense of imperative duty, are supposed to be rendered unnecessary in a scheme of things which, if it were possible, would require these virtues in a pre-eminent degree. The virtuous enthusiast would find himself, indeed, utterly mistaken—the stage which he thought prepared for the exhibition of the serenest virtues, would be a scene given up to mere animal life: but still, if he limited himself to the teaching of these virtues—of a godlike temperance, and a perpetual self-negation—it is not probable, indeed, that he would find many disciples; neither is it easy to see that any great mischief could ensue. Every community, where possessions have been in common, which has at all succeeded, has been sustained by religious zeal—the most potent of all sentiments, and one extraneous to the framework of society. French Communism is the product of idleness and sensuality, provoked into ferocity by commercial distress; clamouring for means of self-indulgence from the state, and prepared to extort its claim by any amount of massacre.

Thus we have shown that the work of M. Prudhon, with its contradictions, or laws of good and of evil, tends but to illustrate the inevitable rise and unalterable nature of our social pyramid. This was our object, and here must end our present labours on M. Prudhon. If our readers are disappointed that they have not heard more of his own schemes for the better construction of society—that they have not learned more of the mystery concealed under the famous paradox that has been blown about by all the winds of heaven—la propriété c'est le vol!—we can only say that we have not learned more ourselves. Moreover, we are fully persuaded he has nothing to teach. All his strength lies in exposing evils he cannot remedy, and destroying the schemes of greater quacks than himself. That property itself is not the subject of his attack, but the mode in which that property is determined, is all that we can gather. The value of every object of exchange is to be determined by the labour bestowed upon it; and the property in it, we presume, is to be decreed to him whose labour has been bestowed. But capital has been justly defined as accumulated labour; he who supplies capital supplies labour. We are brought back, therefore, to the old difficulty of adjusting (by any other standard than the relative proportion which capital and labour bear at any time in the market) the claims of capital and labour. Any such equitable adjustment, by a legislative interference, we may safely pronounce to be impossible.



We left the forecastle group of the "Gloucester" disappointed by the abrupt departure of their story-teller, Old Jack, at so critical a thread of his yarn. As old Jacobs went aft on the quarter-deck, where the binnacle-lamp before her wheel was newly lighted, he looked in with a seaman's instinct upon the compass-boxes, to see how the ship headed; ere ascending to the poop, he bestowed an approving nod upon his friend the steersman, hitched up his trousers, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand in a proper deference to female society, and then proceeded to answer the captain's summons. The passengers, in a body, had left the grand cabin to the bustling steward and his boys, previously to assembling there again for tea—not even excepting the little coterie of inveterate whist-players, and the pairs of inseparable chess-men, to whom an Indian voyage is so appropriately the school for future nice practice in etiquette, war, and commerce. Everybody had at last got rid of sea-sickness, and mustered for a promenade; so that the lofty poop of the Indiaman, dusky as it was, and exposed to the breeze, fluttered with gay dresses like the midway battlement of a castle by the waves, upon which its inmates have stolen out from some hot festivity. But the long heave from below, raising her stern-end slowly against the western space of clear-obscure, in the manner characteristic of a sea abaft the beam, and rolling her to either hand, exhibited to the eyes on the forecastle a sort of alto-relievo of figures, amongst whom the male, in their blank attempts to appear nautical before the ladies, were distinguished from every other object by their variety of ridiculous postures. Under care of one or two bluff, good-humoured young mates—officers polished by previous opportunities of a kind unknown either to navy-men or mere "cargo-fenders," along with several roguish little quasi-midshipmen—the ladies were supported against the poop-rail, or seated on the after-gratings, where their contented dependence not only saved them from the ludicrous failures of their fellow-passengers, but gained them, especially the young ones, the credit of being better sailors. An accompaniment was contributed to this lively exercise on the part of the gentlemen promenaders, which otherwise, in the glimmering sea-twilight, would have been striking in a different sense; by the efforts, namely, of a little band of amateur musicians under the break of the poop, who, with flute, clarionet, bugles, trombone, and violin, after sundry practisings by stealth, had for the first time assembled to play "Rule Britannia." What, indeed, with the occasional abrupt checks, wild flourishes, and fantastic variations caused by the ship's roll; and what with the attitudes overhead, of holding on refractory hats and caps, of intensely resisting and staggering legs, or of sudden pausing above the slope which one moment before was an ascent, there was additional force in the designation quaintly given to such an aspect of things by the fore-mast Jacks—that of "a cuddy jig." As the still-increasing motion, however, shook into side-places this central group of cadets, civilians, and planters adrift, the grander features of the scene predominated: the broad mass of the ship's hull—looming now across and now athwart the streak of sinking light behind—drawn out by the weltering outline of the waters; the entire length of her white decks, ever and anon exposed to view, with their parallel lines, their nautical appurtenances, the cluster of hardy men about the windlass, the two or three "old salts" rolling to and fro along the gangway, and the variety of forms blending into both railings of the poop. High out of, and over all, rose the lofty upper outline of the noble ship, statelier and statelier as the dusk closed in about her—the expanse of canvass whitening with sharper edge upon the gloom; the hauled-up clues of the main-course, with their huge blocks, swelling and lifting to the fair wind—and the breasts of the topsails divided by their tightened bunt-lines, [315] like the shape of some full-bosomed maiden, on which the reef-points heaved like silken fringes, as if three sisters, shadowy and goddess-like, trod in each other's steps towards the deeper solitude of the ocean; while the tall spars, the interlacing complicated tracery, and the dark top-hamper showing between, gave graceful unity to her figure; and her three white trucks, far overhead, kept describing a small clear arc upon the deep blue zenith as she rolled: the man at the wheel midway before the doors of the poop-cabin, with the light of the binnacle upon his broad throat and bearded chin, was looking aloft at a single star that had come out beyond the clue of the main-topsail.

The last stroke of "six bells" or seven o'clock, which had begun to be struck on the ship's bell when Old Jack broke off his story, still lingered on the ear as he brought up close to the starboard quarter-gallery, where a little green shed or pent-house afforded support and shelter to the ladies with the captain. The erect figure of the latter, as he lightly held one of his fair guests by the arm, while pointing out to her some object astern, still retained the attitude which had last caught the eyes of the forecastle group. The musical cadets had just begun to pass from "Rule Britannia" to "Shades of Evening;" and the old sailor, with his glazed hat in his hand, stood waiting respectfully for the captain's notice. The ladies, however, were gazing intently down upon the vessel's wake, where the vast shapes of the waves now sank down into a hollow, now rose seething up into the rudder-trunk, but all marked throughout with one broad winding track, where the huge body of the ship had swiftly passed. From foaming whiteness it melted into yesty green, that became in the hollow a path of soft light, where the sparks mingled like golden seed; the wave-tops glimmered beyond: star-like figures floated up or sank in their long undulations; and the broad swell that heaped itself on a sudden under the mounting stern bore its bells, and bubbles, and flashes, upwards to the eye. When the ship rose high and steady upon it, and one saw down her massy taffrail, it looked to a terrestrial eye rather like some mystic current issuing from the archway under a tall tower, whose foundations rocked and heaved: and so said the romantic girl beside the captain, shuddering at the vividness of an image which so incongruously brought together the fathomless deep and the distant shores of solid old England. The eye of the seaman, however, suggested to him an image more akin to the profession, as he directed his fair companion's attention to the trough of the ship's furrow, where, against the last low gleam of twilight, and by the luminous wake, could be seen a little flock of black petrels, apparently running along it to catch what the mighty ploughshare had turned up; while a gray gull or two hovered aslant over them in the blue haze. As he looked round, too, to aloft, he exchanged glances with the old sailor who had listened—an expression which even the ladies understood. "Ah! Jacobs,"—said the captain, "get the lamp lighted in my cabin, and the tea-kettle aft. With the roll she has on her, 'twill be more ship-shape there than in the cuddy." "Ay, ay, sir," said the old seaman. "How does she head just now, Jacobs?" "Sou'-west and by south, sir." "She'd lie easier for the ladies though," said the captain, knowing his steward was a favourite with them, "were the wind a point or two less fair. Our old acquaintance Captain Williamson, of the Seringapatam now, Jacobs, old-fashioned as he was, would have braced in his lee-yards only to steady a lady's tea-cup." "Ay, your honour," replied Jacobs, and his weather eye twinkled, "and washed the fok'sle under, too! But ye know, sir, he'd got a reg'lar-built Nabob aboard, and a beauty besides!" "Ah, Mr Jacobs!" exclaimed the romantic young lady, "what was that? Is it one of your stories?" "Well, your ladyship, 'tis a bit of a yarn, no doubt, and some'at of a cur'ous one." "Oh!" said another of the captain's fair protégées, "I do love these 'yarns,' as you call them; they are so expressive, so—and all that sort of thing!" "Nonsense, my love," said her mother; "you don't understand them, and 'tis better you should not,—they are low, and contain a great many bad words, I fear." "But think of the imagination, [316] aunt," rejoined the other girl, "and the adventures! Oh, the ocean of all places for that! Were it not for sea-sickness, I should dote upon it! As for the storm just now, look how safe we are,—and see how the dear old ship rises up from the billows, with all her sails so delightfully mysterious one over another!" "Bless your heart, ma'rm, yes," responded Old Jack, chuckling; "you talks just like a seaman, beggin' your pardon. As consarns the tea, sir, I make bould to expect the'll be a shift o' wind directly, and a slant deck, as soon as we get fair into the stream, rid o' this bit of a bubble the tail of it kicks up hereabouts." "Bear a hand, then, Jacobs," said the captain, "and see all right below for the party in the cabin,—we shall be down in a few minutes." The captain stood up on the quarter-gallery, to peer round into the dusk and watch the lifting of the main-royal; but the next minute he called to the ladies, and their next neighbours, to look towards the larboard bow, and see the moon rise. A long edge of gray haze lay around the eastern horizon, on which the dark rim of the sea was defined beyond the roll of the waves, as with the sweep of a soft brush dipped in indigo; while to westward it heaved up, weltering in its own watery light against the gloom. From behind this low fringe of vapour was silently diffusing, as it were, a pool of faint radiance, like a brook babbling from under ice; a thread of silver ran along the line of haze, growing keener at one point, until the arch of the moon shot slowly up, broad and fair; the wave-heads rising between were crested here and there with light; the bow of the ship, the bellies of her fore-canvass, her bowsprit with the jibs hanging idly over it, and the figure-head beneath, were tinged by a gentle lustre, while the hollow shadows stole out behind. The distant horizon, meanwhile, still lay in an obscure streak, which blended into the dark side of the low fog-bank, so as to give sea and cloud united the momentary appearance of one of those long rollers that turn over on a beach, with their glittering crest: you would expect to see next instant what actually seemed to take place—the whole outline plashing over in foam, and spreading itself clearly forward, as soon as the moon was free. With the airy space that flowed from her came out the whole eastern sea-board, liquid and distinct, as if beyond either bow of the lifting Indiaman one sharp finger of a pair of compasses had flashed round, drawing a semicircle upon the dull background, still cloudy, glimmering, and obscure. From the waves that undulated towards her stern, the ship was apparently entering upon a smoother zone, where the small surges leapt up and danced in moonshine, resembling more the current of some estuary in a full tide. To north-westward, just on the skirts of the dark, one wing of a large, soft-gray vapour was newly smitten by the moon-gleam; and over against it on the south-east, where the long fog-bank sank away, there stretched an expanse of ocean which, on its farthest verge, gave out a tint of the most delicate opal blue. The ship, to the south-westward of the Azores, and going large before the trade-wind, was now passing into the great Gulf Stream which there runs to the south-east; even the passengers on deck were sensible of the rapid transition with which the lately cold breeze became warmer and fitful, and the motion of the vessel easier. They were surprised, on looking into the waves alongside, to perceive them struggling, as it were, under a trailing net-work of sea-weed; which, as far as one could distinctly see, appeared to keep down the masses of water like so much oil—flattening their crests, neutralising the force of the wind, and communicating a strangely sombre green to the heaving element. In the winding track of the ship's wake the eddies now absolutely blazed: the weeds she had crushed down rose to the surface again in gurgling circles of flame, and the showers of sparks came up seething on either side amongst the stalks and leaves: but as the moonlight grew more equally diffused it was evident she was only piercing an arm of that local weed-bed here formed, like an island, in the bight of the stream. Farther ahead were scattered patches and bunches of the true Florida Gulf-weed, white and moss-like; which, shining crisp in [317] the level moonlight, and tipping the surges as it floated past, gave them the aspect of hoary-bearded waves, or the garlanded horses of Neptune. The sight still detained the captain's party on deck, and some of the ladies innocently thought these phenomena indicative of the proximity of land.

"I have seldom seen the Stream so distinct hereabouts," said Captain Collins to his first officer, who stood near, having charge of the watch. "Nor I, sir," replied the chief mate; "but it no doubt narrows with different seasons. There goes a flap of the fore-topsail, though! The wind fails, sir." "'Tis only drawing ahead, I think," said the captain; "the stream sucks the wind with its heat, and we shall have it pretty near from due nor'-west immediately." "Shall we round in on the starboard hand, then, sir, and keep both wind and current aft?" "I think not, Mr Wood," said the captain. "'Twould give us a good three knots more every hour of the next twenty-four, sir," persisted the first officer eagerly—and chief mates generally confine their theories to mere immediate progress. "Yes," rejoined the captain, "but we should lose hold of the 'trade' on getting out of the stream again. I intend driving her across, with the nor'wester on her starboard beam, so as to lie well up afterwards. Get the yards braced to larboard as you catch the breeze, Mr Wood, and make her course south-west by west." "Very well, sir." "Ladies," said the captain, "will you allow me to hand you below, where I fear Jacobs will be impatient with the tea?" "What a pity, Captain Collins," remarked the romantic Miss Alicia, looking up as they descended the companion—"what a pity that you cannot have that delicious moonlight to shine in at your cabin windows just now; the sailors yonder have it all to themselves." "There is no favour in these things at sea, Miss Alicia," said the captain, smiling. "Jack shares the chance there, at least, with his betters; but I can promise those who honour my poor suite this evening both fine moonshine and a steadier floor." On reaching the snug little after-cabin, with its swinging lamp and barometer, its side "state-room," seven feet long, and its two stern-windows showing a dark glimpse of the rolling waters, they found the tea-things set, nautical style, on the hard-a-weather, boxed-up table—the surgeon and one or two elderly gentlemen waiting, and old Jacobs still trimming up the sperm-oil light. Mrs St Clair, presiding in virtue of relationship to their host, was still cautiously pouring out the requisite half-cups, when, above all the bustle and clatter in the cuddy, could be heard the sounds of ropes thrown down on deck, of the trampling watch, and the stentorian voice of the first officer. "Jacobs!" said the captain, a minute or two afterwards; and that worthy factotum instantly appeared from his pantry alongside of the door—from whence, by the way, the old seaman might be privy to the whole conversation—"stand by to dowse the lamp when she heels," an order purposely mysterious to all else but the doctor. Every one soon felt a change in the movement of their wave-borne habitation; the rolling lift of her stern ceased; those who were looking into their cups saw the tea apparently take a decided inclination to larboard—as the facetious doctor observed, a "tendency to port." The floor gradually sloped down to the same hand, and a long, wild, gurgling wash was suddenly heard to run careering past the timbers of the starboard side. "Dear me!" fervently exclaimed every lady at once; when the very next moment the lamp went out, and all was darkness. Captain Collins felt a little hand clutch his arm in nervous terror, but the fair owner of it said nothing; until, with still more startling effect than before, in a few seconds there shot through both stern-windows the full rays of the moon, pouring their radiance into the cabin, shining on the backs of the books in the hanging shelves by the bulkhead, on the faces of the party, and the bald forehead of old Jacobs "standing by" the lamp,—lastly, too, revealing the pretty little Alicia with her hand on the captain's arm, and her pale terrified face. "Don't be alarmed, ladies!" said the surgeon, "she's only hauled on the starboard tack!" "And her counter to the east," said the captain.

"But who the dev—old gentleman, [318] I mean—put out the lamp?" rejoined the doctor. "Ah,—I see sir!—'But when the moon, refulgent lamp of night.'" "Such a surprise!" exclaimed the ladies, laughing, although as much frightened for a moment by the magical illumination as by the previous circumstances. "You see," said the captain, "we are not like a house,—we can bring round our scenery to any window we choose." "Very prettily imagined it was, too, I declare!" observed a stout old Bombay officer, "and a fine compliment to the ladies, by Jove, sir!" "If we had any of your pompous Bengal 'Quy hies' here though, colonel," said the doctor, "they wouldn't stand being choused so unceremoniously out of the weather-side, I suspect." "As to the agreeable little surprise I meant for the ladies," said Captain Collins, "I fear it was done awkwardly, never having commanded an Indiaman before, and laid up ashore this half-a-dozen years. But one's old feelings get freshened up, and without knowing the old Gloucester's points, I can't help reckoning her as a lady too,—a very particular old 'Begum,' that won't let any one else be humoured before herself,—especially as I took charge of her to oblige a friend." "How easily she goes now!" said the doctor, "and a gallant sight at this moment, I assure you, to any one who chooses to put his head up the companion." "Ah, mamma!" said one of the girls, "couldn't you almost think this was our own little parlour at home, with the moonlight coming through the window on both sides of the old elm, where we were sitting a month ago hearing about India and papa?"

"Ah!" responded her cousin, standing up, "but there was no track of moonshine dancing beyond the track of the ship yonder! How blue the water is, and how much warmer it has grown of a sudden!"

"We are crossing the great Gulf Stream!" said the captain,—"Jacobs! open one of the stern-ports." "'Tis the very place and time, this is," remarked a good-humoured cotton-grower from the Deckan, "for one of the colonel's tiger-hunts, now!" "Sir!" answered the old officer, rather testily, "I am not accustomed to thrust my tiger-hunts, as you choose to call my humble experiences, under people's noses!" "Certainly not, my dear sir," said the planter,—"but what do you say, ladies, to one of the captain's sea-yarns, then? Nothing better, I'm sure, here and now, sir—eh?" Captain Collins smiled, and said he had never spun a yarn in his life, except when a boy, out of matter-of-fact old junk and tar. "Here is my steward, however," continued he, "who is the best hand at it I know,—and I daresay he'll give you one." "Charming!" exclaimed the young ladies; and "What was that adventure, Mr Jacobs," said Miss Alicia, "with a beauty and a Nabob in it, that you alluded to a short time ago?" "I didn't to say disactly include upon it, your ladyship," replied old Jacobs, with a tug of his hair, and a bow not just à la maître; "but the captain can give you it better nor I can, seeing as his honur were the Nero on it, as one may say." "Oh!" said the surgeon, rubbing his hands "a lady and a rupee-eater in the case!" "Curious stories, there are, too," remarked the colonel, "of those serpents of nautch-girls, and rich fools they've managed to entangle. As for beauty, sir, they have the devil's, and they'd melt the 'Honourable John's' own revenue! I know a very sensible man,—shan't mention his name,—but made of rupees, and a regular beebee-hater,—saw one of these—" "Hush, hush, my dear sir!" interrupted the planter, winking and gesticulating; "very good for the weather poop,—but presence of ladies!"—"For which I'm not fit, you'd say, sir?" inquired the colonel, firing up again. "Oh! oh! you know, colonel!" said the unlucky planter, deprecatingly. "But a godown[7] of best 'Banda' to a cowrie now, the sailor makes his beauty a complete Nourmahal, with rose-lips and moon-eyes,—and his Nabob a jehan punneh,[8] with a crore, besides diamonds. 'Twould be worth hearing, especially from a lascar. For, 'twixt you and I, colonel, we know how rare it is to hear of a man who saves his lac, now-a-days, with Yankees in the market, no Nawaubs to fight, and [319] reform in cutcheries[9]!" "There seems something curious about this said adventure of yours, my dear captain," said Mrs St Clair, archly,—"and a Beauty too! It makes me positively inquisitive, but I hope your fair lady has heard the story?" "Why, not exactly, ma'am," replied Captain Collins, laughing as he caught the doctor looking preternaturally solemn, after a sly lee-wink to the colonel; who, having his back to the moonlight, stretched out his legs and indulged in a grim, silent chuckle, until his royal-tiger countenance was unhappily brought so far flush[10] in the rays as to betray a singular daguerreotype, resembling one of those cut-paper phantasmagoria thrown on a drawing-room wall, unmistakably black and white, and in the character of Malicious Watchfulness. The rubicund, fidgety little cotton-grower twiddled his thumbs, and looked modestly down on the deck, with half-shut eyes, as if expecting some bold revelation of nautical depravity; while the romantic Miss Alicia coloured and was silent. "However," said the captain, coolly, "it is no matrimonial secret, at any rate! We both think of it when we read the Church Service of a Sunday night at home, with Jacobs for the clerk." "Do, Mr Jacobs, oblige us!" requested the younger of the girls. "Well, Miss," said he, smoothing down his hair in the doorway, and hemming, "'Tan't neither for the likes o' me to refuse a lady, nor accordin' to rules for to give such a yarn in presence of a supperior officer, much less the captain,—with a midship helm, ye know marm, ye carn't haul upon one tack nor the other. Not to say but next forenoon watch——" "I see, Jacobs, my man," interrupted Captain Collins, "there's nothing for it but to fore-reach upon you, or else you'll be 'Green-Handing' me aft as well as forward; so I must just make the best of it, and take the winch in my own fashion at once!" "Ay, ay, sir—ay, ay, your honour!" said Old Jack demurely, and concealing his gratification as he turned off into the pantry, with the idea of for the first time hearing the captain relate the incidents in question. "My old shipmate," said the latter, "is so fond of having trained his future captain, that it is his utmost delight to spin out everything we ever met with together into one endless yarn, which would go on from our first acquaintance to the present day, although no ship's company ever heard the last of it. Without falling knowingly to leeward of the truth, he makes out every lucky coincidence, almost, to have been a feat of mine, and puts in little fancies of his own, so as to give the whole thing more and more of a marvellous air, the farther it goes. The most amusing thing is, that he almost always begins each time, I believe, at the very beginning, like a capstan without a paul—sticking in one thing he had forgot before, and forgetting another; sometimes dwelling longer on one part—a good deal like a ship making the same voyages over again. I knew, now, this evening, when I heard the men laughing, and saw Old Jack on the forecastle, what must be in the wind. However, we have shared so many chances, and I respect the old man so much, not to speak of his having dandled my little girls on his knee, and being butler, steward, and flower-gardener at home, that I can't really be angry at him, in spite of the sort of every man's rope he makes of me!" "How very amusing a character he is!" said one young lady. "A thought too tarry, perhaps?" suggested the surgeon. "So very original and like a—seaman!" remarked Miss Alicia, quietly, but as if some other word that crossed her mind had been rejected, as descriptive of a different variety, probably higher. "Original, by Jove!" exclaimed the colonel; "if my Khansa-man, or my Abdar,[11] were to make such a dancing dervish and tumasha[12] of me behind back, by the holy Vishnu, sir, I'd rattan him myself within an inch of his life!" "Not an unlikely thing, colonel," put in the planter; "I've caught the scoundrels at that trick before now." "What did you do?" inquired the colonel, speculatively. "Couldn't help laughing, for [320] my soul, sir; the puckree bund[13] rascals did it so well, and so funnily!" The irascible East-Indian almost started up in his imaginative fury, to call for his palkee, and chastise his whole verandah, when the doctor reminded him it was a long way there. "Glorious East!" exclaimed the medico, looking out astern, "where we may cane our footmen, and whence, meanwhile, we can derive such Sanscrit-sounding adjurations, with such fine moonlight!"

The presence of the first officer was now added to the party, who came down for a cup of tea, fresh from duty, and flavouring strongly of a pilot cheroot. "How does she head, Mr Wood?" asked the captain. "Sou'-west by west, sir,—a splendid night, under everything that will draw,—spray up to the starboard cat-head!"

"But as to this story, again, Captain Collins?" said Mrs St Clair, as soon as she had poured out the chief mate's cup. "Well," said the captain, "if you choose to listen till bedtime to a plain draught of the affair, why I suppose I must tell it you; and what remains then may stand over till next fine night. It may look a little romantic, being in the days when most people are such themselves; but at any rate, we sailors—or else we should never have been at sea, you know: and so you'll allow for that, and a spice to boot of what we used to call at sea 'love-making;' happily there were no soft speeches in it, like those in books, for then I shouldn't tell it at all.

By the time I was twenty-four, I had been nine years at sea, and, at the end of the war, was third lieutenant of a crack twenty-eight, the saucy Iris—as perfect a sloop-model, though over-sparred certainly, as ever was cased off the ways at Chatham, or careened to a north-easter. The Admiralty had learnt to build by that day, and a glorious ship she was, made for going after the small fry of privateers, pirates, and slavers, that swarmed about the time. Though I had roughed it in all sorts of craft, from a first-rate to a dirty French lugger prize, and had been eastward, so as to see the sea in its pride at the Pacific, yet the feeling you have depends on the kind of ship you are in. I never knew so well what it was to be fond of a ship and the sea; and when I heard of the poor Iris, that had never been used to anything but blue water on three parts of the horizon at least, laying her bones not long after near Wicklow Head, I couldn't help a gulp in the throat. I once dreamt I had gone down in her, and risen again to the surface with the loss of something in my brain; while, at the same moment, there I was, still sitting below on a locker in the wardroom, with the arms of her beautiful figure-head round me, and her mermaid's tail like the best-bower cable, with an anchor at the end of it far away out of soundings, over which I bobbed and dipped for years and years, in all weathers, like a buoy. We had no Mediterranean time of it, though, in the Iris, off the Guinea coast, from Cape Palmas to Cape Negro: looking out to windward for white squalls, and to leeward for black ones, and inshore for Spanish cattle-dealers, as we called them, had made us all as sharp as so many marlin-spikes; and our captain was a man that taught us seamanship, with a trick or two beyond. The slavers had not got to be so clever then, either, with their schooners and clippers; they built for stowage, and took the chance, so that we sent in bale after bale to the West India Admiral, made money, and enjoyed ourselves now and then at the Cape de Verds. However, this kind of thing was so popular at home, as pickings after the great haul was over, that the Iris had to give up her station to a post-frigate, and be paid off. The war was over, and nobody could expect to be promoted without a friend near the blue table-cloth, although a quiet hint to a secretary's palm would work wonders, if strong enough. But most of such lucky fellows as ourselves dissipated their funds in blazing away at balls and parties, where the gold band was everything, and the ladies wore blue ribbons and anchor brooches in honour of the navy. The men spent everything in a fortnight, even to their clothes, and had little [321] more chance of eating the king's biscuit with hopes of prize-money; I used to see knots of them, in red shirts and dirty slops, amongst the fore-mast Jacks in outwardbound ships, dropping past Greenwich, and waving their hats to the Hospital. You knew them at once by one of them giving the song for the topsail halliards, instead of the merchantmen's bull's chorus: indeed, I could always pick off the dashing man-o'-war's men, by face and eye alone, out from among the others, who looked as sober and solitary, with their serious faces and way of going about a thing, as if every one of them was the whole crew. I once read a bit of poetry called the "Ancient Mariner," to old Jacobs, who by the bye is something of a breed betwixt the two kinds, and his remark was—"That old chap warn't used to hoisting all together with a run, your honour! By his looks, I'd say he was bred where there was few in a watch, and the watch-tackle laid out pretty often for an eke to drag down the fore-tack."

As I was riding down to Croydon in Surrey, where my mother and sister had gone to live, I fell in with a sample of the hard shifts the men-o-war's-men were put to in getting across from harbour to some merchant port, when all their earnings were chucked away. It was at a little town called Bromley, where I brought to by the door of a tavern and had a drink for the horse, with a bottle of cider for myself at the open window, the afternoon being hot. There was a crowd of townspeople at the other end of the street, country bumpkins and boys—women looking out at the windows, dogs barking, and children shouting—the whole concern bearing down upon us.

"What's all this?" said I to the ostler.

"Don't know, sir," said he, scratching his head; "'tis very hodd, sir! That corner is rather a sharp turn for the coach, sir, and she do sometimes run over a child there, or somethink. But 'taint her time yet! Nothink else hever 'appens 'ere, sir."

As soon as I could hear or see distinctly for the confusion, I observed the magnet of it to be a party of five or six regular blue-jackets, a good deal battered in their rig, who were roaring out sea-songs in grand style as they came along, leading what I thought at first was a bear. The chief words I heard were what I knew well. "We'll disregard their tommy-hawks, likewise their scalping-knifes—and fight alongside of our mates to save our precious lives—like British tars and souldiers in the North Americay!"

On getting abreast of the inn-door, and finding an offing with good holding-ground, I suppose, they hove to and struck up the "Buffalo," that finest of chaunts for the weather forecastle with a spanking breeze, outward bound, and the pilot lately dropped—

"Come all you young men and maidens, that wishes for to sail,
And I will let you hear of where you must a-roam!
We'll embark into a ship which her taups'ls is let fall,
And all unto an ileyand where we never will go home!
Especiallye you ladies that's inclined for to rove—
There's fishes in the sea, my love—likewise the buck an' doe,
We'll lie down—on the banks—of yon pleasant shadye gro-ove,
Through the wild woods we'll wander and we'll chase the Buffalo—ho—ho—we'll
Chase the BuffalO!"

I really couldn't help laughing to see the slapping big-bearded fellows, like so many foretopmen, showing off in this manner—one mahogany-faced thorough-bred leading, the rest thundering in at the chorus, with tremendous stress on the 'Lo-ho-ho,' that made the good Bromley folks gape. As to singing for money, however, I knew no true tar with his members whole would do it; and I supposed it to be merely some 'spree ashore,' until the curious-looking object from behind was lugged forward by a couple of ropes, proving to be a human figure about six feet high, with a rough canvass cover as far as the knees. What with three holes at the face, and the strange colour of the legs, which were bare—with the pair of turned-up India shoes, and the whole shape like a walking smoke-funnel over a ship's caboose—I was puzzled what they would be at. The leading tar immediately took off his hat, waved it round for a clear space, and gave a hem while he pointed to the mysterious creature. "Now, my lads!" said he, [322] "this here wonderful bein' is a savitch we brought aboard of us from the Andyman Isles, where he was caught one mornin' paddling round the ship in a canoe made out of the bark of a sartain tree. Bein' the ownly spice of the sort brought to this country as yet is, and we havin' run short of the needful to take us to the next port, we expects every lady and gemman as has the wherewithal, will give us a lift, by consideration of this same cur'ous sight, and doesn't——" "Heave ahead, Tom, lad!" said another encouragingly, as the sailor brought up fairly out of breath—"Doesn't want no man's money for nou't d'ye see, but all fair an' above board. We're not agoin' to show this here sight excep' you makes up half-a-guinea amongst ye—arter that, all hands may see shot-free—them's the articles!" "Ay, ay, Tom, well said, old ship!" observed the rest; and, after a considerable clinking of coin amongst the crowd, the required sum was poured, in pence and sixpences, into Tom's hat. "All right!" said he, as soon as he had counted it,—"hoist away the tarpaulin, mates!" For my part, I was rather surprised at the rare appearance of this said savage, when his cover was off—his legs and arms naked, his face streaked with yellow, and both parts the colour of red boom-varnish; his red hair done up in a tuft, with feathers all round it, and a bright feather-tippet over his shoulders, as he stood, six feet in his yellow slippers, and looking sulkily enough at the people. "Bobbery puckalow!" said the nautical head-showman, and all at once up jumped the Andaman islander, dancing furiously, holding a little Indian punkah over his head, and flourishing with the other hand what reminded me strongly of a ship's top-maul—shouting "Goor—goor—gooree!" while two of the sailors held on by the ropes. The crowd made plenty of room, and Tom proceeded to explain to them very civilly, that "in them parts 'twas so hot the natives wouldn't fight, save under a portable awning." Having exhibited the points of their extraordinary savage, he was calmed again by another uncouth word of command, when the man-o'-war's-man attempted a further traverse on the good Bromley folks, for which I gave him great credit. "Now, my lads and lasses," said he, taking off his hat again, "I s'pose you're all British subjects and Englishmen!" at which there was a murmur of applause. "Very good, mates all!" continued the foretopman approvingly.—"Then, in course, ye knows as how whatsomever touches British ground is free!" "Britons never, never shall be slaves!" sung out a boy, and the screaming and hurrahing was universal. Tom stuck his tongue in his cheek to his messmates, and went on,—"Though we was all pressed ourselves, and has knocked about in sarvice of our king and country, an' bein' poor men, we honours the flag, my lads!" "Hoorah! hoorah! hoorr-ray!" "So you see, gemmen, my shipmates an' me has come to the resolve of lettin' this here wild savidge go free into the woods,—though, bein' poor men, d'ye see, we hopes ye'll make it up to us a bit first! What d'ye say, all hands?—slump together for the other guinea, will ye, and off he goes this minute,—and d—— the odds! Eh? what d'ye say, shipmates?" "Ay, ay, Tom, sink the damage too!" said his comrades; "we'll always get a berth at Blackwall, again!"

"Stand by to ease off his tow-lines, then," said Tom,—"now look sharp with the shiners there, my lads—ownly a guinea!" "No! no!" murmured the townspeople,—"send for the constable!—we'll all be scalped and murdered in our beds!—no, no, for God's sake, mister sailors!" A grocer ran out of his door to beg the tars wouldn't think of such a thing, and the village constable came shoving himself in, with the beadle. "Come, come," said the constable in a soothing style, while the beadle tried to look big and blustering, "you musn't do it, my good men,—not on no desideration, here,—in his majesty's name! Take un on to the next parish!—I horder all good subjects to resist me!" "What!" growled the foretopman, with an air of supreme disgust, "han't ye no feelin's for liberty hereaway? Parish be blowed! Bill, my lad, let go his moorings, and give the poor devil his nat'ral freedom!" [323] "I'm right down ashamed on my country," said Bill. "Hullo, shipmates, cast off at once, an' never mind the loss,—I hasn't slept easy myself sin' he wor cotched!" "Nor me either," said another, "but I'm feared he'll play the devil when he's loose, mate."

I had been watching the affair all this time from inside, a good deal amused, in those days, at the trick—especially so well carried out as it was by the sailors. "Here, my fine fellows," said I at last, "bring him in, if you please, and let me have a look at him." Next minute in came the whole party, and, supposing from my dress that I was merely a long-shore traveller, they put their savage through his dance with great vigour. "Wonderful tame he's got, your honour!" said the top-man; "it's nothing to what he does if you freshens his nip." "What does he eat?" I asked, pretending not to understand the hint. "Why, nought to speak on, sir," said he; "but we wonst lost a boy doorin' the cruise, nobody know'd how—though 'twas thought he went o'board, some on us had our doubts." "Curiously tatooed, too," I said; "I should like to examine his arm." "A bit obstropolous he is, your honour, if you handles him!" "Never mind," said I, getting up and seizing the wrist of the Andaman islander, in spite of his grins; and my suspicions were immediately fulfilled by seeing a whole range of familiar devices marked in blue on the fellow's arm—amongst them an anchor with a heart transfixed by a harpoon, on one side the word "Sal," and on the other "R.O. 1811." "Where did you steal this top-maul, you rascal?" said I, coolly looking in his face; while I noticed one of the men overhauling me suspiciously out of his weather-eye, and sidling to the door. "I didn't stale it at all!" exclaimed the savage, giving his red head a scratch, "'twas Bill Green there—by japers! whack, pillalew, mates, I'm done!" "Lord! oh Lord!" said Bill himself, quite crestfallen, "if I didn't think 'twas him! We're all pressed again, mates! It's the leftenant!" "Pressed, bo'?" said Tom; "more luck, I wish we was—but they wouldn't take ye now for a bounty, ye know." Here I was fain to slack down and give a hearty laugh, particularly at recognising Bill, who had been a shipmate of Jacobs and myself in the old Pandora, and was nicknamed "Green"—I believe from a little adventure of ours—so I gave the men a guinea a-piece to carry them on. "Long life to your honour!" said they; and said Tom, "If I might make so bould, sir, if your honour has got a ship yet, we all knows ye, sir, and we'd enter, if 'twas for the North Pole itself!" "No, my lad," said I, "I'm sorry to say I have not got so far yet. Dykes, my man, can you tell me where your old messmate Jacobs has got to?" "Why, sir," replied Bill, "I did hear he was livin' at Wapping with his wife, where we means to give him a call, too, sir." "Good day, your honour!" said all of them, as they put on their hats to go, and covered their curiosity again with his tarpaulin. "I'm blessed, Bill," said Tom, "but we'll knock off this here carrivanning now, and put before the wind for Blackwall." "Won't you give your savage his freedom, then," I asked. "Sartinly, your honour," replied the roguish foretopman, his eye twinkling as he saw that I enjoyed the joke. "Now, Mick, my lad, ye must run like the devil so soon as we casts ye off!" "Oh, by the powers, thry me!" said the Irishman; "I'm tired o' this cannible minnatchery! By the holy mouse, though, I must have a dhrop o' dew in me, or I'll fall!" Mick accordingly swigged off a noggin of gin, and declared himself ready to start. "Head due nor'-east from the sun, Mick, and we'll pick you up in the woods, and rig you out all square again," said the captain of the gang, before presenting himself to the mob outside. "Now, gemmen and ladies all," said the sailor coolly, "ye see we're bent on givin' this here poor unfort'nate his liberty—an' bein' tould we've got the law on our side, why, we means to do it. More by token, there's a leftenant in the Roy'l Navy aboard there, as has made up the little salvage-money, bein' poor men, orderin' us for to do it—so look out! If ye only gives him a clear offing, he'll not do no harm. Steady, Bill—slack [324] off the starboard sheet, Jack—let go—all!" "Oh! oh!—no! no!—for God's sake!" screamed the bystanders, as they scuttled off to both hands—"shame! shame!—knock un down! catch un!—tipstaff! beadle!" "Hurrah!" roared the boys, and off went Mick O'Hooney in fine style, flourishing his top-maul, with a wild "hullaloo," right away over a fence, into a garden, and across a field towards the nearest wood. Everybody fell out of his way as he dashed on; then some running after him, dogs barking, and the whole of the seamen giving chase with their tarpaulins in their hands, as if to drive him far enough into the country. The whole scene was extremely rich, seen through the open air from the tavern window, where I sat laughing, till the tears came into my eyes, at Jack-tars' roguishness and the stupefied Kent rustics, as they looked to each other; then at the sailors rolling away full speed along the edge of the plantation where the outlandish creature had disappeared; and, lastly, at the canvass cover which lay on the spot where he had stood. They were actually consulting how to guard against possible inroads from the savage at night, since he might be lurking near, when I mounted and rode off; I daresay even their hearing that I was a live and real lieutenant would cap the whole story.

Croydon is a pretty, retired little town, so quiet and old-fashioned that I enjoyed the unusual rest in it, and the very look of the canal, the marketplace, the old English trees and people—by comparison with even the Iris's white decks, and her circumference of a prospect, different as it was every morning or hour of the day. My mother and my sister Jane were so kind—they petted me so, and were so happy to have me down to breakfast and out walking, even to feel the smell of my cigar,—that I hardly knew where I was. I gave them an account of the places I had seen, with a few tremendous storms and a frigate-fight or two, instead of the horse-marine stories about mermaids and flying Dutchmen I used to pass upon them when a conceited youngster. Little Jane would listen with her ear to a large shell, when we were upon sea matters, and shut her eyes, saying she could fancy the thing so perfectly in that way. Or was it about India, there was a painted sandal-wood fan carved in open-work like the finest lace, which she would spread over her face, because the seeing through it, and its scent, made her feel as if she were in the tropics. As for my mother, good simple woman, she was always between astonishment and horror, never having believed that lieutenants would be so heartless as to masthead a midshipman for the drunkenness of a boat's crew, nor being able to understand why, with a gale brewing to seaward, a captain tried to get his ship as far as he could from land. The idea of my going to sea again never entered her head, the terrible war being over, and the rank I had gained being invariably explained to visiters as at least equal to that of a captain amongst soldiers. To the present day, this is the point with respect to seafaring matters on which my venerated and worthy parent is clearest: she will take off her gold spectacles, smoothing down her silver hair with the other hand, and lay down the law as to reform in naval titles, showing that my captain's commission puts me on a level with a military colonel. However, as usual, I got tired by little and little of this sort of thing; I fancy there's some peculiar disease gets into a sailor's brain that makes him uneasy with a firm floor and no offing beyond; certainly the country about Croydon was to my mind, at that time, the worst possible,—all shut in, narrow lanes, high hedges and orchards, no sky except overhead, and no horizon. If I could only have got a hill, there would have been some relief in having a look-out from it. Money I didn't need; and as for fame or rank, I neither had the ambition, nor did I ever fancy myself intended for an admiral or a Nelson: all my wish was to be up and driving about, on account of something that was within me. I enjoyed a good breeze as some do champagne; and the very perfection of glory, to my thinking, was to be the soul of a gallant ship in a regular Atlantic howler; or to play at long bowls with one's match to leeward, off the ridges of a sea, with both weather [325] and the enemy to think of. Accordingly, I wasn't at all inclined to go jogging along in one of your easy merchantmen, where you have nothing new to find out; and I only waited to hear from some friends who were bestirring themselves with the Board, of a ship where there might be something to do. These were my notions in those days, before getting sobered down, which I tell you for the sake of not seeming such a fool in this said adventure.

Well, one evening my sister Jane and I went to a race-ball at Epsom, where, of course, we saw all the "beauty and fashion," as they say, of the country round, with plenty of the army men, who were in all their glory, with Waterloo and all that; we two or three poor nauticals being quite looked down upon in comparison, since Nelson was dead, and we had left nothing at the end to fight with. I even heard one belle ask a dragoon "what uniform that was—was it the horse-artillery corps?" "Haw!" said the dragoon, squinting at me through an eyeglass, and then looking with one eye at his spurs and with the other at his partner, "Not at all sure! I do think, after all, Miss ——, 'tis the—the marine body,—a sort of amphibious animals! They weren't with us, though, you know,—couldn't be, indeed, though it was Water-loo! Haw! haw! you'll excuse the joke, Miss ——?" "Ha! ha! how extremely witty, Captain ——!" said the young lady, and they whirled away towards the other end of the hall. But, had there been an opportunity, by the honour of the flag, and nothing personal, I declare I should have done—what the fool deserved,—had it been before all his brethren and the Duke himself! It was not ten minutes after, that I saw what I thought the loveliest young creature ever crossed my eyes, coming out of the refreshment-room with two ladies, an old and an elderly one. The first was richly dressed, and I set her down for an aunt, she was so unlike; the other for a governess. The young lady was near sixteen to appearance, dressed in white. There were many beauties in the ball-room you would have called handsomer; but there was something about her altogether I could compare to nothing else but the white figure-head of the Iris, sliding gently along in the first curl of a breeze, with the morning-sky far out on the bow,—curious as you may think it, ladies! Her hair was brown, and her complexion remarkably pale notwithstanding; while her eyes were as dark-blue, too, as—as the ocean near the line, that sometimes, in a clear calm, gets to melt till you scarcely know it from the sky. "Look, Edward!" whispered my sister, "what a pretty creature! She can't be English, she looks so different from everybody in the room! And such diamonds in her hair! such a beautifully large pearl in her brooch! Who can she be, I wonder?" I was so taken up, however, that I never recollected at all what Jane said till at night, in thinking the matter over; and then a whole breeze of whisperings seemingly came from every corner of the bedroom, of "Who is she!" "Who can she be?" "Who's her father?" and so on, which I remembered to have heard. I only noticed at the time that somebody said she was the daughter of some rich East India Nabob or other, just come home. I had actually forgot about the young dragoon I meant to find out again, until a post-captain who was present—one of Collingwood's flag-lieutenants—went up to the old chaperone, whom he seemed to know, and got into talk with her; I found afterwards she was an admiral's widow. In a little I saw him introduced to the young lady, and ask her to dance; I fancied she hung back for a moment, but the next she bowed, gave a slight smile to the captain's gallant sea-fashion of deep respect to the sex, and they were soon gliding away in the first set. Her dancing was more like walking with spread wings upon air, than upon planks with one's arms out, as the captain did. I'd have given my eyes, not to speak of my commission and chances to come, to have gone through that figure with her. When the captain had handed her to her seat again, two or three of the dragoons sauntered up to Lady Somers's sofa: it was plain they were taken; and after conversing with the old lady, one of them, Lord somebody [326] I understood, got introduced, in his turn, to the young beauty. As may be supposed, I kept a look-out for his asking her to dance, seeing that, if she had done so with one of the embroidered crew, and their clattering gear, I'd have gone out that instant, found out the Waterloo fellow next day, and, if not shot myself, shot him with an anchor button for a bullet, and run off in the first craft I could get. The cool, easy, cursed impertinent way this second man made his request, though—just as if he couldn't be refused, and didn't care about it—it was as different from the captain of the Diomede's as red from blue! My heart went like the main-tack blocks, thrashing when you luff too much; so you may guess what I felt to see the young lady, who was leaning back on the sofa, give her head a pettish sort of turn to the old one, without a word,—as much as to say she didn't want to. "My love!" I heard the old lady say, "I fear you are tired! My lord, your lordship must excuse Miss Hyde on this occasion, as she is delicate!" The dragoon was a polite nobleman, according to his cloth; so he kept on talking and smiling, till he could walk off without seeming as if he'd got his sabre betwixt his feet; but I fancied him a little down by the head when he did go. All the time, the young beauty was sitting with her face as quiet and indifferent as may be, only there was a sparkle in her blue eyes, and in nothing else but the diamonds in her hair, as she looked on at the dancing; and, to my eye, there was a touch of the rose came out on her cheek, clear pale though it was before the dragoon spoke to her. Not long after, an oldish gentleman came out with a gray-haired old general from the refreshment-room: a thin, yellow-complexioned man he was, with no whiskers and a bald forehead, and a bilious eye, but handsome, and his face as grand and solemn looking as if he'd been First Lord, or had got a whole court-martial on his shoulders for next day. I should have known him from a thousand for a man that had lived in the East, were it nothing but the quick way he looked over his shoulder for a servant or two, when he wanted his carriage called—no doubt just as one feels when he forgets he's ashore, like I did every now and then, looking up out to windward, and getting a garden-wall or a wood slap into one's eyesight, as 'twere. I laid down the old gentleman at once for this said Nabob; in fact, as soon as a footman told him his carriage was waiting, he walked up to the young lady and her companions, and went off with them, a steward and a lady patroness convoying them to the break of the steps. The only notion that ran in my head, on the way home that night with my sister, was, "By heavens! I might just as well be in love with the bit of sky at the end of the flying-jib-boom!" and all the while, the confounded wheels kept droning it into me, till I was as dizzy as the first time I looked over the fore-royal-yard. The whole night long I dreamt I was mad after the figure-head of the Iris, and asked her to dance with me, on which she turned round with a look as cold as water, or plain "No." At last I caught firm hold of her and jumped overboard; and next moment we were heaving on the blue swell in sight of the black old Guinea coast—when round turned the figure, and changed into Miss Hyde; and the old Nabob hauled us ashore upon a beautiful island, where I woke and thought I was wanted on deck, although it was only my mother calling me.

All I had found out about them was, that Sir Charles Hyde was the name of the East Indian, and how he was a Bengal judge newly come home; where they lived, nobody at the ball seemed to know. At home, of course, it was so absurd to think of getting acquaintance with a rich Indian judge and his daughter, that I said no more of the matter; although I looked so foolish and care-about-nothing, I suppose, that my mother said to Jane she was sure I wanted to go to sea again, and even urged me to "take a trip to the Downs, perhaps." As for going to sea, however, I felt I could no more stir then, from where I was, than with a best-bower down, and all hands drunk but the captain. There was a favourite lazy spot of mine near the house, where I used to lie after dinner, and smoke amongst the grass, [327] at the back of a high garden-wall with two doors in it, and a plank across a little brook running close under them. All round was a green paddock for cows; there was a tall tree at hand, which I climbed now and then half-mast high, to get a look down a long lane that ran level to the sky, and gave you a sharp gush of blue from the far end. Being a luxurious dog in those days, like the cloth in general when hung up ashore, I used to call it "The Idler's Walk," and "The Lazy Watch," where I did duty somewhat like the famous bo'sun that told his boy to call him every night and say the captain wanted him, when he turned over with a polite message, and no good to the old tyrant's eyes.

Well, one afternoon I was stretched on the softest bit of this retreat, feeling unhappy all over, and trying to think of nothing particular, as I looked at the wall and smoked my cheroot. Excuse me if I think that, so far as I remember, there is nothing so consolatory, though it can't of course cure one, as a fine Manilla for the "green sickness," as our fore-mast fellows would say. My main idea was, that nothing on earth could turn up to get me out of this scrape, but I should stick eternally, with my head-sails shivering aback, or flapping in a sickening dead calm. It was a beautiful hot summer afternoon, as quiet as possible, and I was weary to death of seeing that shadow of the branch lying against the white wall, down to the keyhole of the nearest door. All of a sudden I heard the sweetest voice imaginable, coming down the garden as it were, singing a verse of a Hindostanee song I had heard the Bengal girls chant with their pitchers on their heads at the well, of an evening,—

"'La li ta la, ta perisi,
La na comalay ah sahm-rè,
Madna, ca—rahm
Ram li ta, co-ca-la lir jhi!
La li ta la, vanga-la ta perisi.'"

"Coc-coka-cokatoo!" screamed a harsh voice, which I certainly could distinguish from the first. "Pretty cockatoo!" said the other coaxingly; and next minute the large pink-flushed bird itself popped his head over the top-stones above the door, floundering about with his throat foul of the silver chain fast to his leg, till he hung by his beak on my side of the wall, half choked, and trying to croak out "Pretty—pretty cocky!" Before I had time to think, the door opened, and, by heavens! there was my very charmer herself, with the shade of the green leaves showered over her alarmed face. She had scarcely seen me before I sprang up and caught the cockatoo, which bit me like an imp incarnate, till the blood ran down my fingers as I handed it to its mistress, my heart in my mouth, and more than a quarter-deck bow in my cap. The young lady looked at me first in surprise, as may be supposed, and then, with a smile of thanks that set my brain all afloat, "Oh, dear me!" exclaimed she, "you are hurt!" "Hurt!" I said, looking so bewildered, I suppose, that she couldn't help laughing. "Tippoo is very stupid," continued she, smiling, "because he is out of his own country, I think. You shall have no sugar to-night, cockatoo, for biting your friends."

"Were you—ever in India—madam?" I stammered out. "Not since I was a child," she answered; but just then I saw the figure of the Nabob sauntering down the garden, and said I had particular business, and must be off. "You are very busy here, sir?" said the charming young creature archly. "You are longing till you go to sea, I daresay—like Tippoo and me." "You!" said I, staring at the keyhole, whilst she caught my eye, and blushed a little, as I thought. "Yes, we are going—I long to see India again, and I remember the sea too, like a dream."

Oh heavens! thought I, when I heard the old gentleman call out, "Lota! Lota beebee-lee! Kabultah, meetoowah?"[14] and away she vanished behind the door, with a smile to myself. The tone of the Judge's voice, and his speaking Hindoo, showed he was fond of his daughter at any rate. Off I went, too, as much confused as before, only for the new thought in my [328] head. "The sea, the sea!" I shouted, as soon as out of hearing, and felt the wind, as 'twere, coming from aft at last, like the first ripple. "Yes, by George!" said I, "outward bound for a thousand. I'll go, if it was before the mast." All at once I remembered I didn't know the ship's name, or when. Next day, and the next again, I was skulking about my old place, but nobody appeared—not so much as a shadow inside the keyhole. At last one evening, just as I was going away, the door opened; I sauntered slowly along, when, instead of the charming Lota, out came the flat brown turban of an ugly kitmagar, with a mustache, looking round to see who was there. "Salaam, sah 'b," said the brown fellow, holding the door behind him with one paw. "Burra judge sahib bhote bhote salaam send uppiser[15] sah 'b—'ope not dekhe[16] after sahib cook-maid." "Joot baht, hurkut-jee,"[17] said I, laughing. "Sah 'b been my coontree?" inquired the Bengalee more politely. "Jee, yes," I said, wishing to draw him out. "I Inglitch can is-peek," continued the dark footman, conceitedly; "ver well sah 'b, but one damned misfortune us for come i-here. Baud carry make—plenty too much poork—too much graug drink. Turmeric—chili—banana not got—not coco-tree got—pah! Baud coontree, too much i-cold, sah 'b?" "Curse the rascal's impudence," I thought, but I asked him if he wasn't going back. "Yis, sah 'b, such baht[18] A-il-alàh! Mohummud burra Meer-kea. Bote too much i-smell my coontree." "When are you going?" I asked carelessly. "Two day this time, sah 'b." "Can you tell me the name of the ship?" I went on. The Kitmagar looked at me slyly, stroked his mustache, and meditated; after which he squinted at me again, and his lips opened so as to form the magic word, "Buckshish?" "Jee," said I, holding out a crown-piece, "the ship's name and the harbour?" "Se," began he; the coin touched his palm,—"ring;" his fingers closed on it, and "Patahm," dropped from his leathery lips. "The Seringapatam?" I said. "Ahn, sah 'b." "London, eh?" I added; to which he returned another reluctant assent, as if it wasn't paid for, and I walked off. However, I had not got round the corner before I noticed the figure of the old gentleman himself looking after me from the doorway; his worthy Kitmagar salaaming to the ground, and no doubt giving information how the "cheep uppiser" had tried to pump him to no purpose. The Nabob looked plainly as suspicious as if I had wanted to break into his house, since he held his hand over his eyes to watch me out of sight.

At night, I told my mother and sister I should be off to London next day, for sea. What betwixt their vexation at losing me, and their satisfaction to see me more cheerful, with talking over matters, we sat up half the night. I was so ashamed, though, to tell them what I intended, considering what a fool's chase it would seem to any one but myself, that I kept all close; and, I am sorry to say, I was so full of my love-affair, with the wild adventure of it, the sea, and everything besides, as not to feel their anxiety enough. How it was to turn out I didn't know; but somehow or other I was resolved I'd contrive to make a rope if I couldn't find one: at the worst, I might carry the ship, gain over the men, or turn pirate and discover an island. Early in the morning I packed my traps, drew a cheque for my prize-money, got the coach, and bowled off for London, to knock up Bob Jacobs, my sea godfather; this being the very first step, as it seemed to me, in making the plan feasible. Rough sort of confidant as he may look, there was no man living I would have trusted before him for keeping a secret. Bob was true as the topsail sheets; and if you only gave him the course to steer, without any of the "puzzlements," as he called the calculating part, he would stick to it, blow high, blow low. He was just the fellow I wanted, for the lee brace as it were, to give my weather one a purchase, even if I had altogether liked the notion of setting off all alone on what I couldn't help suspecting [329] was a sufficiently hare-brained scheme as it stood; and, to tell the truth, it was only to a straightforward, simple-hearted tar like Jacobs that I could have plucked up courage to make it known. I knew he would enter into it like a reefer volunteering for a cutting out, and make nothing of the difficulties—especially when a love matter was at the bottom of it: the chief question was how to discover his whereabouts, as Wapping is rather a wide word. I adopted the expedient of going into all the tobacco-shops to inquire after Jacobs, knowing him to be a more than commonly hard smoker, and no great drinker ashore. I was beginning to be tired out, however, and give up the quest, when, at the corner of a lane near the docks, I caught sight of a little door adorned with what had apparently been part of a ship's figure-head—the face of a nymph or nereid, four times as large as life, with tarnished gilding, and a long wooden pipe in her mouth that had all the effect of a bowsprit, being stayed up by a piece of marline to a hook in the wall, probably in order to keep clear of people's heads. The words painted on its two head-boards, as under a ship's bow, were "Betsy Jacobs," and "licensed" on the top of the door; the window was stowed full of cakes of cavendish, twists of negrohead, and coils of pigtail; so that, having heard my old shipmate speak of a certain Betsey, both as sweetheart and partner, I made at once pretty sure of having lighted, by chance, on his very dry-dock, and went in without more ado. I found nobody in the little shop, but a rough voice, as like as possible to Jacobs' own, was chanting the sea-song of "Come, cheer up, my lads, 'tis to glory we steer," in the back-room, in a curious sleepy kind of drone, interrupted every now and then by the suck of his pipe, and a mysterious thumping sound, which I could only account for by the supposition that the poor fellow was mangling clothes, or gone mad. I was obliged to kick on the counter with all my might, in competition, before an eye was applied from inside to the little window; after which, as I expected, the head of Jacobs was thrust out of the door, his hair rough, three days' beard on his chin, and he in his shirt and trousers. "Hisht!" said he, in a low voice, not seeing me distinctly for the light, "you're not callin' the watch, my lad! Hold on a bit, and I'll sarve your orders directly." After another stave of "Hearts of oak are our ships," &c. in the same drawl, and a still more vigorous thumping than before, next minute out came Bob again; with a wonderful air of importance, though, and drawing in one hand, to my great surprise, the slack of a line of "half-inch," on which he gave now and then a tug and an ease off, as he came forward, like a fellow humouring a newly-hooked fish. "Now, then, my hearty!" said he, shading his eyes with the other hand, "bear a—" "Why, Jacobs, old ship," I said, "what's this you're after? Don't you know your old apprentice, eh?"

Jacobs looked at my cap and epaulette, and gave out his breath in a whistle, the only other sign of astonishment being, that he let go his unaccountable-looking piece of cord. "Lord bless me, Master Ned!" said he—"I axes pardon, Lieutenant Collins, your honour!" "Glad you know me this time, Bob, my lad," said I, looking round,—"and a comfortable berth you've got of it, I daresay. But what the deuce are you about in there? You haven't a savage too, like some friends of yours I fell in with a short time ago! Or perhaps a lion or a tiger, eh, Jacobs?" "No, no, your honour—lions be blowed!" replied he, laughing, but fiddling with his hands all the while, and standing between me and the room, as if half ashamed. "'Tis ownly the tiller-ropes of a small craft I am left in charge of, sir. But won't ye sit down, your honour, till such time as my old 'ooman comes aboard to relieve me, sir? Here's a cheer, and maybe you'd make so free for to take a pipe of prime cavendish, your honour?" "Let's have a look into your cabin, though, Bob my man," said I, curious to know what was the secret; when all at once a tremendous squall from within let me sufficiently into it. The sailor had been rocking the cradle, with a fine little fellow of a baby in it, and a line made fast to keep it in play when he served the shop. "All [330] the pitch 's in the fire now, your honour," said he, looking terribly non-plussed; "I've broached him to, and he's all aback till his mammy gets a hold of him." "A good pipe the little rogue's got though," said I, "and a fine child he is, Jacobs—do for a bo'sun yet." "Why, yes, sir," said he, rubbing his chin with a gratified smile, as the urchin kicked, threw out his arms, and roared like to break his heart; "I'm thinking he's a sailor all over, by natur', as one may say. He don't like a calm no more nor myself; but that's the odds of bein' ashore, where you needs to keep swinging the hammocks by hand, instead of havin' it done for you, sir." In the midst of the noise, however, we were caught by the sudden appearance of Mistress Jacobs herself—a good-looking young woman, with a market-basket full of bacon and greens, and a chubby little boy holding by her apron, who came through the shop. The first thing she did was to catch up the baby out of the cradle, and begin hushing it, after one or two side-glances of reproach at her husband, who attempted to cover his disgrace by saying, "Betsy, my girl, where's your manners? why don't you off hats to the leftenant?—it's my wife, your honour." Mrs Jacobs curtseyed twice very respectfully, though not particularly fond of the profession, as I found afterwards; and I soon quite gained her smiles and good graces by praising her child, with the remark that he was too pretty ever to turn out a sailor; for, sharp as mothers are to detect this sort of flattery to anybody else's bantling, you always find it take wonderfully with respect to their own. Whenever Jacobs and I were left to ourselves, I struck at once into my scheme—the more readily for feeling I had the weather-hand of him in regard of his late appearance. It was too ridiculous, the notion of one of the best foretopmen that ever passed a weather-earing staying at home to rock his wife's cradle and attend the shop; and he was evidently aware of it as I went on. It was a little selfish, I daresay, and Mrs Jacobs would perhaps have liked me none the better for it; but I proposed to him to get a berth in the Indiaman, sail with me for Bombay, and stand by for a foul hitch in something or other. "Why, sir," said he, "it shan't be said of Bob Jacobs he were ever the man to hang back where a matter was to be done that must be done. I doesn't see the whole bearings of it as yet, but ounly you give the orders, sir, and I'll stick to 'em." "'Tis a long stretch between this and Bombay, Jacobs," said I, "and plenty of room for chances." "Ay, ay, sir, no doubt," said he, "ye can talk the length of the best bower cable." "More than that, Bob my lad," said I, "I know these Company men; if they once get out of their regular jog, they're as helpless as a pig adrift on a grating; and before they grow used to sailing out of convoy, with no frigates to whip them in, depend upon it Mother Carey[19] will have to teach them a new trick or two." "Mayhap, sir," put in Jacobs, doubtfully, "the best thing 'ud be if they cast the ship away altogether, as I've seen done myself for the matter of an insurance. Ye know, sir, they lets it pass at Lloyd's now the war's over, seein' it brings custom to the underwriters, if so be ounly it don't come over often for the profits. Hows'ever it needs a good seaman to choose his lee-shore well, no doubt." "Oh!" answered I, laughing, "but the chances are, all hands would want to be Robinson Crusoe at once! No, no,—only let's get aboard, and take things as they come." "What's the ship's name, sir?" inquired Jacobs, sinking his voice, and looking cautiously over his shoulder toward the door. "The [331] Seringapatam,—do you know her?" I said. "Ay, ay, sir, well enough," said he, readily,—"a lump of a ship she is, down off Blackwall in the stream with two more—country-built, and tumbles home rather much from below the plank-sheer for a sightly craft, besides being flat in the eyes of her, and round in the counter, just where she shouldn't, sir. Them Parchee Bombay ship-wrights does clap on a lot of onchristien flummeries and gilt mouldings, let alone quarter-galleries fit for the king's castle!" "In short, she's tea-waggon all over," said I, "and just as slow and as leewardly, to boot, as teak can make her?" "Her lines is not that bad, though, your honour," continued Jacobs, "if you just knocked off her poop,—and she'd bear a deal o' beating for a sea-boat. They've got a smart young mate, too; for I seed him t'other day a-sending up the yards, and now she's as square as a frigate, all ready to drop down river." The short and long of it was, that I arranged with my old shipmate, who was fully bent on the cruise, whether Mrs Jacobs should approve or not, that, somehow or other, we should both ship our hammocks on board of the Seringapatam—he before the mast, and I wherever I could get. On going to the agent's, however—which I did as soon as I could change my uniform for plain clothes—I found, to my great disappointment, from a plan of the accommodations, that not only were the whole of the poop-cabins taken, but those on the lower-deck also. Most of the passengers, I ascertained, were ladies, with their children and nurses, going back to India, and raw young cadets, with a few commercial and civilian nondescripts; there were no troops or officers, and room enough, except for one gentleman having engaged the entire poop, at an immense expense, for his own use. This I, of course, supposed was the Nabob, but the clerk was too close to inform me. "You must try another ship, sir," said he, coolly, as he shut the book. "Sorry for it, but we have another to sail in a fortnight. A.1, sir; far finer vessel—couple of hundred tons larger—and sails faster." "You be hanged!" muttered I, walking out; and a short time after I was on board. The stewards told me as much again; but on my slipping a guinea into the fingers of one, he suddenly recollected there was a gentleman in state-room No. 14, starboard side of the main skylight, who, being alone, might perhaps be inclined to take a chum, if I dealt with him privately. "Yankee, sir, he is," said the steward, by way of a useful hint. However, I didn't need the warning: at sight of the individual's long nose, thin lips, and sallow jaw-bones, without a whisker on his face, and his shirt-collar turned down, as he sat overhauling his traps beside the carronade, which was tethered in the state-room, with its muzzle through the port. He looked a good deal like a jockey beside his horse; or, as a wit of a schoolboy cadet said afterwards, the Boston gentleman calling himself Daniel Snout, Esquire—like Daniel praying in the lion's den, and afraid it might turn round or roar. I must say the idea didn't quite delight me, nor the sight of a fearful quantity of luggage which was stowed up against the bulkhead; but after introducing myself, and objecting to the first few offers, I at last concluded a bargain with the American for a hundred and twenty guineas, which, he remarked, was "considerable low, I prognosticate, mister!" "However," said he, "I expect you're a conversationable individual a little: I allowed for that, you know, mister. One can't do much of a trade at sea—that's a fact; and I calculate we'll swap information by the way. I'm water-pruff, I tell you, as all our nation is. You'll not settle at Bumbay, I reckon, mister?" But though I meant to pay my new messmate in my own coin at leisure afterwards, and be as frank and open as day with him—the only way to meet a Yankee—I made off at present as fast as possible to bring my things aboard, resolving to sleep at Blackwall, and then to stow myself out of sight for sick, until there was somebody to take off the edge of his confounded talk.

Next afternoon, accordingly, I found myself once more afloat, the Indiaman dropping down with the first breeze. The day after, she was running through the Downs with it pretty strong from north-east, a fair wind—the [332] pilot-boat snoring off close-hauled to windward, with a white spray over her nose; and the three dungaree topsails of the Seringapatam lifting and swelling, as yellow as gold, over her white courses in the blue Channel haze. The breeze freshened, till she rolled before it, and everything being topsy-turvy on deck, the lumber in the way, the men as busy as bees setting her ship-shape—it would have been as much as a passenger's toes were worth to show them from below; so that I was able to keep by myself, just troubling my seamanship so much as to stand clear of the work. Enjoy it I did, too; by Jove, the first sniff of the weather was enough to make me forget what I was there for. I was every now and then on the point of fisting a rope, and singing out with the men; till at length I thought it more comfortable, even for me, to run up the mizen shrouds when everybody was forward, where I stowed myself out of sight in the cross-trees.

About dusk, while I was waiting to slip down, a stronger puff than ordinary made them clue up the mizen-royal from deck, which I took upon myself to furl off-hand—quick enough to puzzle a couple of boys that came aloft for the purpose, especially as, in the mean time, I had got down upon the topsail-yardarm out of their notice. When they got on deck again, I heard the little fellows telling some of the men, in a terrified sort of way, how the mizen-royal had either stowed itself, or else it was Dick Wilson's ghost, that fell off the same yard last voyage,—more by token, he used always to make fast the gaskets just that fashion. At night, however, the wind having got lighter, with half moonlight, there was a muster of some passengers on deck, all sick and miserable, as they tried to keep their feet, and have the benefit of air,—the Yankee being as bad as the worst. I thought it wouldn't do for me to be altogether free, and accordingly stuck fast by Mr Snout, with my head over the quarter-deck bulwarks, looking into his face, and talking away to him, asking all sorts of questions about what was good for sea-sickness, then giving a groan to prevent myself laughing, when the spray splashed up upon his "water-pruff" face, he responding to it as Sancho Panza did to Don Quixote, when the one examined the other's mouth after a potion. All he could falter out was, how he wondered I could speak at all when sick. "Oh! oh dear!" said I, with another howl. "Yes,—'tis merely because I can't think! And I daresay you are thinking so much you can't talk—the sea is so full of meditation, as Lord Byron—Oh—oh—this water will be the death of me!" "I feel as if—the whole—tarnation Atlantic was—inside of my bowls!" gasped he through his nostrils. "Oh!" I could not help putting in, as the ship and Mr Snout both gave a heave up, "and coming out of you!"

During all this time I had felt so sure of my ground as scarcely to trouble myself about the Bengal judge and his fairy treasure of a daughter; only in the midst of the high spirits brought up by the breeze, I hugged myself now and then at the thought of their turning out by degrees as things got settled, and my having such openings the whole voyage through as one couldn't miss in four or five months. Nobody would suspect the raw chap I looked, with smooth hair and a high collar, of any particular cue: I must say there was a little vanity at the bottom of it, but I kept thinking more and more how snug and quietly I'd enjoy all that went on, sailing on one tack with the passengers and the old Nabob himself, and slipping off upon the other when I could come near the charming young Lota. The notion looks more like what some scamp of a reefer, cruising ashore, would have hit upon, than suits my taste now-a-days; but the cockpit had put a spice of the imp in me, which I never got clear of till this very voyage, as you shall see, if we get through with the log of it. 'Twas no use, as I found, saying what one should have to do, except put heart into it,—with wind, sea, and a love affair to manage all at once, after making a tangled coil instead of one all clear and above-board.

The first time I went down into the cuddy was that evening to tea, where all was at sixes and sevens like the decks; the lamps ill trimmed, stewards out of the way, and a few lads trying to bear up against their stomachs by the help of brandy and biscuits. [333] The main figure was a jolly-looking East Indian, an indigo-planter as he turned out, with a bald forehead, a hook nose, and his gills covered with white whiskers that gave him all the cut of a cockatoo. He had his brown servant running about on every hand, and, being an old stager, did his best to cheer up the rest; but nothing I saw showed the least sign of the party I looked after. I was sure I ought to have made out something of them by this time, considering the stir such a grandee as Sir Charles Hyde would cause aboard: in fact, there didn't seem to be many passengers in her, and I began to curse the lying scoundrel of a Kitmagar for working "Tom Cox's traverse" on me, and myself for being a greater ass than I'd fancied. Indeed I heard the planter mention by chance that Sir Charles Hyde, the district judge, had come home last voyage from India in this very Seringapatam, which no doubt, I thought, put the Mahommedan rascal up to his trick.

I was making up my mind to an Indian trip, and the pure pleasure of Daniel Catoson Snout, Esquire's company for two blessed months, when all of a sudden I felt the ship bring her wind a-quarter, with a furious plunge of the Channel water along her bends, that made every landsman's bowels yearn as if he felt it gurgle through him. One young fellow, more drunk than sick, gave a wild bolt right over the cuddy table, striking out with both arms and legs as if afloat, so as to sweep half of the glasses down on the floor. The planter, who was three cloths in the wind himself, looked down upon him with a comical air of pity as soon as he had got cushioned upon the wreck. "My dear fellow," said he, "what do you feel—eh?" "Feel, you—old blackguard!" stammered the griffin, "de—dam—dammit, I feel everything! Goes through—through my vitals as if—I was a con—founded whale! C—can't stand it!" "You've drunk yourself aground, my boy!" sung out the indigo man; "stuck fast on the coral—eh? Never mind, we'll float you off, only don't flounder that way with your tail!—by Jove, you scamp, you've ruined my toe—oh dear!" I left the planter hopping round on one pin, and holding the gouty one in his hand, betwixt laughing and crying: on deck I found the floating Nab Light bearing broad on our lee-bow, with Cumberland Fort glimmering to windward, and the half moon setting over the Isle of Wight, while we stood up for Portsmouth harbour. The old captain, and most of the officers, were on the poop for the first time, though as stiff and uncomfortable from the sort of land-sickness and lumber-qualms that sailors feel till things are in their places, as the landsmen did until things were out of them. The skipper walked the weather side by himself and said nothing: the smart chief officer sent two men, one after another, from the wheel for "cows" that didn't know where their tails were; and as for the middies, they seemed to know when to keep out of the way. In a little, the spars of the men-of-war at Spithead were to be seen as we rose; before the end of the first watch, we were running outside the Spit Buoy, which was nodding and plashing with the tide in the last slant of moonshine, till at last we rounded to, and down went the anchor in five fathoms, off the Motherbank. What the Indiaman wanted at Portsmouth I didn't know; but, meantime, I had given up all hopes of the Nabob being in her, and the only question with me was, whether I should take the opportunity of giving all hands the slip here, even though I left my Yankee friend disconsolate, and a clear gainer by dollars beyond count.

Early next morning there were plenty of wherries looking out for fares; so, as the Indiaman was not to sail before the night-ebb, when the breeze would probably spring up fair again, I hailed one of them to go ashore at the Point, for a quiet stroll over Southsea Common, where I meant to overhaul the whole bearings of the case, and think if it weren't better to go home, and wait the Admiralty's pleasure for a ship. I hadn't even seen anything of Jacobs, and the whole hotel-keeping ways of the Indiaman began to disgust me, or else I should have at once decided to take the chance of seeing Lota Hyde somehow or other in India; but, again, one could scarcely endure the notion of droning on in a frigate without so [334] much as a Brest lugger to let drive at. It was about six o'clock; the morning gun from the guard-ship off the Dockyard came booming down through the harbour, the blue offing shone like silver, and the green tideway sparkled on every surge, up to where they were flashing and poppling on the copper of the frigates at Spithead. I noticed them crossing yards and squaring; the farthest out hove up anchor, loosed fore-topsail, cast her head to starboard, and fired a gun as she stood slowly out to sea under all sail, with a light air freshening abeam. The noble look of her almost reconciled me of itself to the service, were it for the mere sake of having a share in driving such a craft between wind and water. Just then, however, an incident turned up in spite of me, which I certainly didn't expect, and which had more, even than I reckoned at the time, to do with my other adventure; seeing that it made me, both then and afterwards, do the direct opposite of what I meant to do, and both times put a new spoke in my wheel, as we say at sea here.

I had observed a seventy-four, the Stratton, lying opposite the Spit Buoy; on board of which, as the waterman told me, a court-martial had been held the day before, where they broke a first lieutenant for insulting his captain. Both belonged to one of the frigates: the captain I had seen, and heard of as the worst tyrant in the navy; his ship was called "a perfect hell afloat;" that same week one of the boys had tried to drown himself alongside, and a corporal of marines, after coming ashore and drinking a glass with his sweetheart, had coolly walked down to the Point, jumped in between two boats at the jetty, and kept himself under water till he was dead. The lieutenant had been dismissed the service, and as I recognised the name, I wondered whether it could actually be my schoolfellow, Tom Westwood, as gallant a fellow and as merry as ever broke biscuit. Two sail-boats, one from around the Stratton's quarter, and the other from over by Gosport, steering on the same tack for Southsea, diverted my attention as I sauntered down to the beach. The bow of the nearest wherry grounded on the stones as I began to walk quicker towards the town-gates, chiefly because I was pretty ready for an early breakfast at the old Blue Posts, and also because I had a slight notion of what these gentlemen wanted on Southsea Beach at odd hours. Out they jumped, however—one man in naval undress, another, a captain, in full fig, the third, a surgeon—coming right athwart my course to bring me to. The first I almost at once remembered for the notorious captain of the Orestes, or N'Oreste, as the midshipmen called her, from her French build and her character together. "Hallo, you sir!" said the other captain decidedly, "you must stand still." "Indeed!" said I; "and why so, if you please?" "Since you are here, we don't intend allowing you to pass for some few minutes." "And what if I should do as I choose, sir?" I asked. "If you stir two steps, sir, I shall shoot you!" replied the captain, who was one of the bullying school. "Oh, very well," I said, rather confounded by his impertinence, "then I shall stay;" and I accordingly stood stock-still, with my arms folded, until the other boat landed its party of two. They were in plain clothes; nor did I give them any particular attention till the seconds had stationed their men, when the captain of the Orestes had his back to me, and his antagonist stood directly facing. As his pale resolved features came out before me with the morning sun on them, his lips together, and his nostrils large, I recognised my old friend Westwood. The captain had broke him the day before, and now he had accepted his challenge, being a known dead shot, while the lieutenant had never fired a bullet in cold blood: there was, no doubt, a settled purpose in the tyrant to crush the first man that had dared to thwart his will. Westwood's second came forward and mentioned to the other that his friend was still willing to withdraw the words spoken in first heat, and would accordingly fire in the air. "Coward!" shouted the captain of the Orestes immediately; "I shall shoot you through the heart!" "Sir!" said I to his second, "I will not look on; and if that gentleman is shot, I will be witness against you both as murderers!" I dropped down behind a stone out of the line of fire, [335] and to keep my eyes off the devilish piece of work, though my blood boiled to knock the fellow down that I was speaking to. Another minute, and the suspense was too great for me to help looking up: just at that moment I saw how set Westwood's face was: he was watching his enemy with an eye that showed to me what the other's must be—seeking for his life. The seconds gave the word to each other in the middle, and dropped two white handkerchiefs at once with their hands together; I caught the flash of Westwood's pistol, when, to my astonishment, I saw the captain of the Orestes next moment jerk up his arm betwixt me and the sky, fire in the air, and slowly fall back—he was dead!—shot through the heart. One glance at his face gave you a notion of the devilish meaning he had had; but what was my surprise when his second walked up to Westwood, and said to him, "Sir, you are the murderer of Captain Duncombe;—my friend fired in the air as you proposed." "You are mistaken, sir," answered Westwood, coldly; "Captain Duncombe sought my life, and I have used the privilege of self-defence." "The surgeon is of my opinion," said the other; "and I am sorry to say that we cannot allow you to depart." "I shall give myself up to the authorities at once," said Westwood. "We have only your word for that, which I must be permitted, in such a case, to doubt," replied the captain, whose evident wish was to detain Westwood by force or threats while he sent off his surgeon. The worst of it was, as I now found, that since the court-martial and the challenge, an admiralty order had arrived, in consideration of several gallant acts during the war, as well as private representation, restoring him to the service: so that he had in fact called out and shot his superior officer. As for the charge now brought forward, it was too absurd for any to believe it, unless from rage or prejudice; the case was bad enough, at any rate, without it.

In the mean time I had exchanged a word or two with Westwood's friend; after which, lifting up a second pistol which lay on the sand, I went up to the captain. "Sir," said I, "you used the freedom, a little ago, of forcing me into your concerns, and I have seen the end of it. I have now got to tell you, having watched your conduct, that either you must submit to be made fast here for a bit, else, by the God that made me, I'll shoot you through the head!" The captain looked at me, his surgeon sidled up to him, and, being a man near my own size, he suddenly tried to wrench the pistol out of my hands: however, I had him the next moment under my knee, while Westwood's second secured the little surgeon, and took a few round sea-turns about his wrists and ancles with a neckerchief. My companion then gave me a hand to do the same with his superior officer—the medico all the time singing out like a bull, and the captain threatening—while the dead body lay stark and stiff behind us, the eyes wide, the head down, and the breast up, the hand clenching a pistol, just as he had fallen. Westwood stood quite unconscious of everything we did, only he seemed to be watching the knees drawn up as they stiffened, and the sand-flies hovering about the mouth. "Shall we clap a stopper between their teeth?" said the second to me—he had been at sea, but who he was I never knew—"the surgeon will be heard on the walls, he bellows so!" "Never mind," said I, "we'll just drop them beyond tide-mark—the lee of the stones yonder." In fact, from the noise the tide was making, I question if the shots could have been heard even by the watermen, who had prudently sheered out of sight round a point. I couldn't help looking, when we had done this, from the captain's body to his own frigate, as she was sluing round head on to us, at single anchor, to the turn of tide, with her buoy dancing on the brisk blue sweep of water, and her figure-head shining in the sunlight. As soon as we covered over the corpse with dulse-weed, Westwood started as if we had taken something away from him, or freed him of a spell. "Westwood!" said I, laying my hand on his shoulder, "you must come along with me." He said nothing, but followed us quietly round to the wherries, where I told the watermen that the other party had gone a different [336] way to keep clear, and we wanted them to pull for Gosport. At Gosport we had Westwood rigged out in black clothes, his hair cropped, and whiskers shaved off—as I thought it the fittest thing for his case, and what he could best carry out, to go aboard of the Indiaman with me as if he were a missionary. Poor fellow! he didn't know what he was. So, having waited till dusk, to let the watermen lose our track, and his friend having posted off for Dover, he and I both got safe over to the Seringapatam, where I had him stowed in the first empty state-room I found. I had actually forgot, through the excitement, all about my missing my first chase: from one hour to another I kept watching the tide-marks ashore, and the dog-vane on the ship's quarter, all impatience to hear the word given for "all hands up anchor," and hoping our worthy friends on Southsea Beach were still within hearing of the Channel flood. At last the order did come; round went the capstan merrily enough, till she had hove short and up; the anchor was catted, and off went the lumbering old craft through the Solent about midnight, before a fine rattling breeze, in company with six or seven others, all running for the Needles. They were loosing the Indiaman's royals when I heard a gun from the guard-ship in harbour; and a little after up went a rocket, signalling to some frigate or other at Spithead; and away they kept at it, with lights from the telegraph to her masthead, for several minutes. "All's up!" thought I, "and both Westwood and myself are in for it!"

Next morning at daybreak, accordingly, no sooner did the dawn serve to show us the Portland Light going out on the weather quarter, with a whole fleet of Channel craft and Mediterranean brigs about us, we surging through it as fast as the Indiaman could go,—than there was a fine forty-four standing off and on right in our course, in fact the very identical Orestes herself! She picked us out in a moment—bore up, stood across our weather-bow, and hailed. "What ship's that?" said the first Luff in her mizen rigging.

"The Seringapatam, Honourable Company's ship, Captain Williamson!" sung out our first officer, with his cap off. "Heave to, till I send a boat aboard of you!" hailed the naval man, and there we bobbed to each other with mainyards backed. In a few minutes a master's mate with gig's crew was under our lee-quarter, and the mate came on deck. "Sir," said he, "the Port Admiral will thank you to deliver these despatches for Sir Charles Hyde, who I believe is aboard." "Certainly, sir," said the first officer, "they shall be given to him in an hour's time."

"Good morning, and a fine voyage," said the master's mate politely; and I took the occasion of asking if Captain Duncombe were on board the Orestes. "No, sir," answered the midshipman, "he happens to be ashore at present." I have seldom felt so relieved as when I saw the frigate haul round her mainyard, and go sweeping off to leeward, while we resumed our course. By noon we had sunk the land about Start Point, with a breeze which it was no use wasting at that season to take "departures;" and as the afternoon set in hazy, we were soon out of sight of Old England for good. For my part, I was bound Eastward at last with a witness, and, like a young bear, again "all my troubles before me."—"There is two bells though," interrupted the narrator, starting. "Let us see what sort of night it is before the ladies retire."



The memoirs of a sovereign who had Alburquerque for a minister, Maria Padilla for a mistress, Henry of Trastamare for a rival, and Edward the Black Prince for an ally and companion in arms, must be worthy the researches even of so elegant a scholar and learned an antiquarian as Prosper Mérimée. When the nations are engrossed by their difficulties and disasters, and the jarring discord of revolution and thundering crash of monarchies on every side resound, the history of a semi-barbarous period, and of a king now five hundred years in his grave, should be set forth with surpassing talent to attract and sustain attention. But M. Mérimée is the literary Midas of his day and country: the subject he handles becomes bright and precious by the magic of his touch. Though its interest be remote, he can invest it with all the charm of freshness. Upon a former occasion[21] we noticed his imaginative productions with well-merited praise; to-day, in the historian's graver garb, he equally commands admiration and applause. He has been happy in his selection of a period rich in dramatic incident and fascinating details; and of these he has made the utmost profit. In a previous paper, we quoted M. Mérimée's profession of faith in matters of ancient and mediæval history. In his preface to the Chronique de Charles IX., he avowed his predilection for anecdotes and personal traits, and the weight he is disposed to attach to them as painting the manners and character of an epoch, and as throwing upon the motives and qualities of its prominent personages a light more vivid and true, than that obtained from the tedious and often partial narratives of grave contemporary chroniclers. In the present instance, he has liberally supplied his readers with the fare he himself prefers. His History of Pedro the First of Castile abounds in illustrations, in anecdotes and legends of remarkable novelty and interest; historical flowerets, most agreeably lightening and relieving the solid structure of a work for which the archives and libraries of Madrid and Barcelona, the manuscripts of the old Spanish and Portuguese chroniclers, and the writings of more modern historians of various nations, have been with conscientious diligence ransacked and compared. The result has been a book equal in all respects to Mr Prescott's delightful History of Ferdinand and Isabella, to which it forms a suitable companion. As a master of classic and antiquarian lore, the Frenchman is superior to the American, to whom he yields nothing in the vigour of his diction and the grace of his style.

When Alphonso the Eleventh, king of Castile, died of the plague, in his camp before Gibraltar, upon Good Friday of the year 1350, the Iberian peninsula consisted of five distinct and independent monarchies—Castile, Arragon, Navarre, Portugal, and Granada. The first of the five, which extended from Biscay and Galicia to Tarifa, the southernmost town in Europe, was by far the most extensive and powerful; the second comprised Arragon, Catalonia, and Valencia; Navarre, poor and scantily peopled, was important as commanding the principal passes of the Pyrenees, which its monarch could throw open to a French or English army; Portugal had nearly the same limits as at the present day; the Moors, the boundary of whose European empire had long been narrowing, still maintained a precarious footing in the kingdom of Granada. Alphonso, upon his accession in 1308, had found Castile a prey to anarchy, and groaning under feudal oppression. The audacity of the ricos hombres, or nobles,[22] [338] had greatly increased during long minorities, and under the reign of feeble princes. Whilst they fought amongst themselves for privilege of pillage, the peasantry and inhabitants of towns, exasperated by the evils inflicted on them, frequently rose in arms, and exercised bloody reprisals. A contemporary author, quoted at length by M. Mérimée, represents the nobility as living by plunder, and abetted by the king's guardians. Certain towns refused to acknowledge these guardians, detained the king's revenue, and kept men-at-arms to oppress and rob the poor. Justice was nowhere in the kingdom; and the roads were impassable by travellers, except in strong bodies, and well-armed. None dwelt in unwalled places; and so great was the evil throughout the land, that no one was surprised at meeting with murdered men upon the highways. The king's guardians daily imposed new and excessive taxes; towns were deserted, and the peasantry suffered exceedingly. Alphonso, a courageous and intelligent prince, saw the evil, and resolved to remedy it. Without a party of his own, he was compelled to throw himself into the arms of one of the great factions desolating the country. By its aid he destroyed the others, and then found himself strong enough to rule in his own realm. Having proved his power, he made an example of the most unruly, and pardoned the others. Then, to give occupation to his warlike and turbulent nobility, he led them against the Moors of Granada; thus turning to his glory, and to the aggrandisement of his dominions, the arms which previously had been brandished but in civil contest. The commons of Castile, grateful for their deliverance from internal war, and from the exactions of the rich men, sent him soldiers, and generously supplied him with money. He compelled the clergy to make sacrifices which, at another period, would have compromised the tranquillity of the kingdom.[23] But he was [339] valiant and generous, and had the love of the people; not a voice was raised to oppose him. On the 29th October 1340, the army of Castile encountered, near Tarifa, that of Granada, whose ranks were swelled by prodigious reinforcements from the opposite shores of Barbary. The battle of Rio Salado was fought; victory loudly declared herself for the Christians: two hundred thousand Moors (it is said) remained upon the field, and the power of the Mussulman in Spain was broken for ever. Following up his success, Alphonso took Algesiras after a long siege, and was besieging Gibraltar when he was carried off by the famous black plague, which for several years had ravaged Europe. His death was mourned by all Spain; and the mere terror of his name would seem to have dictated the advantageous treaty of peace concluded soon afterwards with the Saracen.

Alphonso, a better king than husband, left behind him one legitimate son, Don Pedro—who at his father's death was fifteen years old, and whose mother, Doña Maria, was a Portuguese princess—and ten bastards, a daughter and nine sons, children of his mistress Leonora de Guzman. In 1350, the first-born of this illegitimate progeny, Don Henry, was eighteen years of age; he had the establishment of a prince of the blood, the magnificent domain of Trastamare, and the title of count. His twin-brother, Don Fadrique, was grand-master of the Knights of Santiago. The two young men had won their spurs at Gibraltar, whilst the Infante Pedro, rightful heir to the crown, had been kept in retirement at Seville, a witness of his mother's daily humiliations, and himself neglected by the courtiers, always prompt to follow a king's example. Idle in a deserted court, he passed his time in weeping over his mother's injuries and his own. Youthful impressions are ineffaceable. Jealousy and hatred were the first sentiments experienced by Don Pedro. Brought up by a feeble and offended woman, the first lessons he imbibed were those of dissimulation and revenge.

The premature and unexpected death of Don Alphonso was the alarum of a host of ambitions. Amongst the great patricians of Spain, two in particular were designated, by public opinion, to take the chief direction of affairs: these were—Juan Alonzo de Alburquerque, [340] and Juan Nuñez de Lara. The former, a Portuguese by birth, but holding vast estates in Spain, had stood beside Don Alphonso during his struggle with his nobles; had rendered him great, and, to all appearance, disinterested services; and had been rewarded by the king's entire confidence. Grand chancellor and prime minister, he had also had charge of Don Pedro's education. He had great influence with the queen-mother, and had always skilfully avoided collision with Leonora de Guzman, who nevertheless feared and disliked him as a secret and dangerous foe. All circumstances considered, Juan de Lara, although connected by blood with the royal family, and possessing, as Lord of Biscay, great power in the north of Spain, thought it unadvisable to enter the lists with Alburquerque, who, on the other hand, openly sought his alliance, and even offered to divide with him the authority devolved upon him by the king's death. With all this apparent frankness there was little real friendship; and it was well understood that henceforward the leading characters on the political stage divided themselves into two opponent parties. On the one hand were the dowager-queen Maria, Pedro the First, and the astute and prudent Alburquerque. Opposed to these, but with little union, and with various views and pretensions, were Juan de Lara, his nephew, (the lord of Villena)—whose sister was soon afterwards secretly married to Henry of Trastamare—Leonora de Guzman, and her three eldest sons. The third of these, Don Tello, was younger than Don Pedro, but he was crafty and selfish beyond his years.

Alphonso had hardly given up the ghost, when the reaction commenced. Leonora fled before the angry countenance of the injured queen-mother. Refused protection by Lara, from whom she first sought it, she repaired to her strong fortress of Medina-Sidonia, a gift from her royal lover. Its governor, her relative, Don Alonzo Coronel, although reputed a valiant and loyal knight, and, moreover, personally attached to the faction of the Laras, resigned his command, and would not be prevailed with to resume it. And amongst all the nobles and chevaliers, who during Alphonso's life professed themselves devoted to her, she now could not find one to defend her castle. She saw that her cause was desperate. Vague accusations were brought against her, of conspiracy against the new king; and from all sides alarming rumours reached her of her sons' arrest and probable execution. She lost courage, and gave up her castle to Alburquerque, in exchange for a safe-conduct to Seville, which was not respected; for, on her arrival there, she was shut up in the Alcazar, and treated as a prisoner of state. Meanwhile her two eldest sons endeavoured to stir up civil war. They were totally unsuccessful, and finally esteemed themselves fortunate in being allowed to make their submission, and do homage to the king. Alburquerque affected to treat them as refractory boys, and reserved his wrath for their mother, who, even in captivity, proved herself formidable. By her contrivance, the marriage of Don Henry and of the niece of Juan de Lara was secretly celebrated and consummated, in the palace that served her as a prison. When informed, a few hours subsequently, of the trick that had been played them, the queen-mother and Alburquerque were furious. Doña Leonora was sent into strict confinement, in the castle of Carmona. "As to the Count Don Henry, he was on his guard, and did not wait his enemies' vengeance: he left Seville by stealth, taking with him a quantity of jewels received from his mother, and accompanied by two faithful knights—all three having their faces covered with leathern masks, according to a custom of the times. By forced marches, and with great fatigue, they traversed the whole of Spain unrecognised, and reached the Asturias, where they trusted to find safety amongst devoted vassals."

The sudden and severe illness of Don Pedro gave rise to fresh intrigues, and Juan de Lara and Don Fernando of Arragon stood forth as pretenders to the crown in the event of the king's death. His recovery crushed their ambitious hopes, but might not have prevented a civil war between the factions of the two aspirants, had not Don Juan de Lara and his nephew been suddenly carried off by the prevailing [341] epidemic. "At any other moment," M. Mérimée remarks, "the premature death of these two men would doubtless have thrown odious suspicions on their adversaries. But in no contemporary author do I find the least insinuation against Alburquerque, thus rid in one day of the chief obstacles to his ambition. This general respect for a man who was the object of so many jealousies and hatreds, is an honourable testimony, worthy of note, as a rare exception to the usage of the times, and which it would be supremely unjust now to attempt to invalidate." Alburquerque was now the virtual ruler of Castile: the young king passed his time in hunting, and left all cares of state to his sagacious minister, who worked hard to consolidate his master's power. The Cortes were convoked at Valladolid, whither Pedro proceeded to open them in person. He was accompanied by the queen-mother, dragging in her train the unfortunate Leonora de Guzman. At Llerena, in Estremadura, one of the principal commanderys of the Knights of Santiago, Don Fadrique, grand-master of that powerful order, received his half-brother Pedro with great respect, and offered him the magnificent hospitality of his house. He then asked and obtained permission to see his mother.

"In presence of the jailers, mother and son, both so fallen from their high fortune, threw themselves into each other's arms, and during the hour to which their interview was limited, they wept, without exchanging a word. Then a page informed Don Fadrique that the king required his presence. After a last embrace he left his mother, never again to behold her. The unfortunate woman's doom was sealed. From Llerena, by Alburquerque's order, she was conducted to the castle of Talavera, belonging to the queen-mother, and governed by Gutier Fernandez of Toledo, one of her liege men. There Leonora did not long languish. A few days after her arrival, a secretary of the queen brought the governor an order for her death. The execution was secret and mysterious, and it is certain Don Pedro had no cognisance of it. Doubtless the queen had exacted from Alburquerque the sacrifice of her rival, who was no longer protected by the pity of Juan Nuñez de Lara. 'Many persons,' says Pero Lopez de Ayala, a Spanish chronicler whom M. Mérimée has taken as one of his principal authorities, and whose trustworthiness, impugned by modern authors, he ably vindicates in his preface, 'were grieved at this deed, foreseeing that from it wars and scandal would spring, inasmuch as Leonora had sons already grown up and well-connected.'

"But the hour of vengeance was not yet come, and the sons of Leonora bowed their heads before her assassins."

One of them, whose youth might have been deemed incapable of such dissimulation, went beyond mere submission. A few days after Leonora's death, Don Pedro, during a progress through various provinces of his kingdom, reached the town of Palencia, in whose neighbourhood Tello, then hardly fifteen years old, and who, following the example of his elder brothers, kept aloof from the court, had shut himself up in the castle of Palenzuela.

"As there was some fear he might prove refractory, Juan Manrique, a Castilian noble, was sent to assure him of the king's good will towards him, and at the same time to gain over the knights, his counsellors. Manrique succeeded in his mission, and brought Don Tello to Palencia. Instructed by his guide, the youth hastened to kiss his brother's hand. 'Don Tello,' said the king, 'do you know that your mother, Doña Leonora, is dead?' 'Sire,' replied the boy-courtier, 'I have no other mother or father than your good favour.'"

The royal bastards humbled and subdued for a time, Alburquerque turned his attention to more powerful adversaries. The death of its two chiefs had not entirely dissipated the Lara faction, now headed by Don Garci Laso de la Vega—a puissant Castilian noble, and an inveterate enemy of the minister. Garci Laso was in the rich and disaffected city of Burgos; and on the king's approach he issued some leagues forth to meet him, escorted by a little army of vassals and retainers. His enemies took care to call Pedro's attention to this martial retinue, as indicative of defiance rather than respect. And the Manrique above mentioned, a creature of Alburquerque's, and a private enemy of Garci Laso's, took opportunity to quarrel with the latter, and would have charged him with his troop but [342] for the king's interference. The commons of Burgos, hearing of these quarrels, and standing in mortal fear of Alburquerque, sent a deputation to represent to Don Pedro the danger the city would be in from the presence of rival factions within its walls, and begged of him to enter with only a small escort. They added an expression of regret at the arrival of Alburquerque, whom they knew to be ill-disposed towards them. Although the formula was respectful and humble, the freedom of these remonstrances incensed the king, who at once entered the city with his whole force, spears raised and banners displayed. The citizens made no resistance; a few of those most compromised fled. Manrique, who commanded the advanced guard, established himself in the Jews' quarter, which, separated by a strong wall, according to the custom of the time, from the rest of the town, formed a sort of internal citadel. Garci Laso, confiding in his great popularity, and in the fidelity of his vassals, remained in Burgos, taking up his lodging in one of the archbishop's palaces, of which another was occupied by the king and his mother. Alburquerque had quarters in another part of the town. Thus Burgos contained four camps; and it seemed, says M. Mérimée, as if all the factions in the kingdom had taken rendezvous there, to settle their differences.

That night an esquire of the queen-mother secretly sought Garci Laso, bearing him a strange warning from that princess. "Whatever invitation he received, he was to beware of appearing before the king." The proud noble despised caution, repaired next morning to the palace, was arrested by the king's command, and in his presence, and suffered death the same day.[24] This execution (murder were perhaps a fitter word) was followed by others, and terror reigned in Burgos. "Whosoever had lifted up his voice to defend the privileges of the commons, or the rights of Don Juan de Lara, knew no retreat safe enough to hide his head. Don Henry himself feared to remain in the Asturias, and took refuge on Portuguese territory." The implacable Alburquerque was determined utterly to crush and exterminate the faction of the Laras. The possessions of that princely house were confiscated to the crown, the orphan son of Don Juan de Lara died in Biscay, and his two daughters fell into [343] the hands of the minister, who detained them as hostages. But the party, although vanquished, was not yet annihilated. Alonso Coronel, the same who had abandoned Leonora de Guzman in her misfortunes, and who had been rewarded with the banner and cauldron of a rico hombre, with the vast lordship and strong castle of Aguilar, aspired to become its leader. He opened a correspondence with Count Trastamare and Don Fadrique, who, as enemies of Alburquerque, seemed to him his natural allies. He attempted to treat with the King of Granada, and even with the Moors of Africa. Alburquerque decreed his ruin, assembled a small army round the royal standard, and marched with Don Pedro to besiege Aguilar. Summoned to surrender, Coronel replied by a volley of arrows, and was forthwith declared a rebel and traitor. Leaving a body of troops in observation before Aguilar, which was capable of a long defence, Alburquerque and his royal pupil set out for the Asturias, seizing, as they passed, various castles and fortified places belonging to Coronel, which surrendered without serious resistance—excepting that of Burguillos, whose commander, Juan de Cañedo, a liege man of Coronel, made an obstinate defence. Taken alive, his hands were cut off by the cruel victors. Some months afterwards, when the king and his vindictive minister, with a powerful army and battering train, had effected, after a long siege, a breach in the ramparts of Aguilar, "the mutilated knight, his wounds hardly healed, suddenly appeared in the camp, and with incredible hardihood demanded of Pedro permission to enter the fortress and die by the side of his lord. His heroic fidelity excited the admiration of his enemies, and the favour was accorded him. Many envied Coronel the glory of inspiring such devoted attachment, and every one awaited with thrilling interest the last moments of a man whom all Castile was accustomed to consider as the model of an accomplished and valiant knight." The assault was given, the castle taken, and Coronel was led before Alburquerque. "What!" exclaimed the minister, on beholding his foe, "Coronel traitor in a kingdom where so much honour has been done him!" "Don Juan," replied Coronel, "we are sons of this Castile, which elevates men and casts them down. It is in vain to strive against destiny. The mercy I ask of you is to put me to a speedy death, even as I, fourteen years ago to-day, put to death the Master of Alcantara."[25] "The king, present at the interview, his visor lowered, listened incognito to this dialogue, doubtless admiring Coronel's coolness, but giving no orders, for he was unaccustomed to interfere with his minister." Coronel and several distinguished knights and gentlemen were led a few paces off, and there beheaded.

The Lara faction scattered and weakened, circumstances seemed to promise Alburquerque a long lease of power, when a fatal mistake prepared his downfall. Pedro grew restless—his high spirit gave forth flashes; his minister saw that, to check the desire of governing for himself, it was necessary to provide him with pursuits of more engrossing interest than the chase.

"The reign of Don Alphonso had shown what power a mistress might acquire, and the prudent minister would not leave to chance the choice of the woman destined to play so important a part. Fearing a rival, he wished an ally, or rather a slave. He chose for the king, and blundered egregiously. He thought to have found the person best suited to his designs, in Doña Maria de Padilla, a young girl of noble birth, brought up in the house of his wife, Doña Isabel de Meneses. She was an orphan, issue of a noble family, formerly attached to the Lara faction, and ruined by the last civil wars. Her brother and uncle, poor and ambitious, lent themselves, it was said, to the degrading bargain. Persuaded that Doña Maria, brought up in his family, would always consider him as a master, Alburquerque directed Don Pedro's attention to her, and himself facilitated their first interview, which took place during the expedition to the Asturias. [344] Dona Maria de Padilla, was small in stature, like the majority of Spanish women, pretty, lively, full of that voluptuous grace peculiar to the women of Southern Spain, and which our language has no word exactly to express.[26] As yet the only indication of talent she had given was her great sprightliness, which amused the noble lady with whom she lived in an almost servile capacity. Older than the king, she had over him the advantage of having already mingled with the crowd, studied men and observed the court. She soon proved herself worthy to reign."

Maria Padilla made little opposition to Alburquerque's project. Her uncle, Juan de Hinestrosa, himself conducted her to Don Pedro, and placed her, it may almost be said, in his arms. The complaisance was royally rewarded. Hinestrosa and the other relations of the favourite emerged from their obscurity, appeared at court, and soon stood high in their sovereign's favour, although the pliant uncle was the only one who retained it till the end of his career. Subsequently, before the Cortes of 1362, Don Pedro declared that he had been, from the first, privately married to Maria Padilla—thus invalidating his public union with Blanche of Bourbon, with whom he had never lived, and after whose death the declaration was made. He produced three witnesses of the marriage—the fourth, Juan de Hinestrosa, was then dead—who positively swore it had taken place in their presence. M. Mérimée, examines the question minutely, quoting various writers on the subject, and discussing it pro and con; one of his strongest arguments in favour of the marriage, being the improbability that so faithful, loyal, and valiant a knight as Hinestrosa proved himself, would have consented, under any temptation, to play the base part of a pander. It would not be difficult, however, to trace contradictions nearly as great in the code of honour and morality of the chevaliers of the fourteenth century; and, very much nearer to our own times, it has frequently been seen how large an amount of infamy of that kind the royal purple has been held to cloak.

In a very few months after the equivocal union he had brought about, Alburquerque began to experience its bad effects. Maria Padilla secretly incited the young king to shake off his leading-strings, and grasp the reins of government. Afraid to do this boldly and abruptly, Pedro conspired with the Padillas, and planned a reconciliation with his brothers Henry and Tello, believing, in his inexperience, that he could nowhere find better friends, or more disinterested advisers. The secret of the plot was well kept: Alburquerque unsuspiciously accepted a frivolous mission to the King of Portugal; during his absence, a treaty of amity was concluded between the king and the two bastards. Whilst these intrigues went on, Blanche of Bourbon, niece of the King of France, waited at Valladolid, in company with the dowager queens of Castile and Arragon, until it should please Pedro to go thither and marry her. Pedro had established himself at Torrijos near Toledo, holding tournaments and festivals in honour of his mistress, with whom he was more in love than ever; and the French princess waited several months, to the great indignation of her suite of knights and nobles. Suddenly a severe countenance troubled the joy of Maria Padilla's lover. It was that of Alburquerque, who, in grave and regretful words, represented to the king the affront he put upon the house of France, and the anxiety of his subjects, who awaited, in his marriage, a guarantee of future tranquillity. It was of the utmost importance to give a legitimate heir to the crown of Castile. Subjugated by the voice of reason, and by the old ascendency of [345] his austere counsellor, Pedro set out for Valladolid, and was joined on his way by Count Henry and Don Tello, who came to meet him on foot and unarmed; kissed his foot and his right hand, as he sat on horseback; and were received by him with all honour and favour, to the mortification of Alburquerque, who saw in this reconciliation a proof of the credit of the Padillas, and a humiliating blow to his authority. The mortification was all the greater that he, a veteran politician, had been outwitted by mere children. On the third day of June the king's marriage took place, the royal pair being conducted in great pomp to the church, mounted upon white palfreys, and attired in robes of gold brocade trimmed with ermine—a costume then reserved for sovereigns. In their retinue, Henry of Trastamare had the precedence of the princes of Arragon—an honour held excessive by some, and attributed by others to the sincerity of the reconciliation between the sons of Don Alphonso. A tournament and bull-fight succeeded the ceremony, and were renewed the next day. "But in the midst of these festivities, all eyes were fixed upon the newly-married pair. Coldness, and even aversion for his young bride, were visible upon the king's countenance; and as it was difficult to understand how a man of his age, ardent and voluptuous, could be insensible to the attractions of the French princess, many whispered that he was fascinated by Maria Padilla, and that his eyes, charmed by magic art, beheld a repulsive object in place of the young beauty he led to the altar. Aversion, like sympathy, has its inexplicable mysteries."[27]

Upon the second day after his marriage, Don Pedro being alone at dinner in his palace, (the dinner hour in those days was at nine or ten in the morning,) his mother and aunt appeared before him, all in tears, and, having obtained a private audience, taxed him with being about to desert his wife, and return to Maria Padilla. The king expressed his astonishment that they should credit idle rumours, and dismissed them, repeating that he thought not of quitting Valladolid. An hour afterwards he called for mules, saying he would go visit his mother; but, instead of doing so, he left the city, accompanied only by the brother of his mistress, Don Diego Padilla, and by two of his most confidential gentlemen. Regular relays were in waiting, and he slept that night at sixteen long leagues from Valladolid. The next day Doña Maria met him at Puebla de Montalvan. This strange and indecent escapade was simultaneous with a complete transfer of the king's confidence from Alburquerque to his brothers and the Padillas. The minister preserved his dignity to the last, and sent a haughty but respectful message to his sovereign, by the mouth of his majordomo. "You know, sire," concluded this knight, Rui Diaz Cabeza de Vaca, "all that Don Juan Alonzo has done for your service, and for that of the queen your mother. He has been your chancellor from your birth. He has always loyally served you, as he served the late king your father. For you he exposed himself to great perils, when Doña Leonora de Guzman, and her faction, had all power in the kingdom. My master is still ignorant of the crimes imputed to him: make them known to him, and he will refute them. Nevertheless, if any knight do doubt his honour and his loyalty, I, his vassal, am here ready to defend him with my body, and with arms in hand." Thus did the arrogant ricos hombres of the fourteenth century dare address their [346] sovereign, by the mouth of their knightly retainers. What a contrast between these bold-spoken, strong-armed magnates, and the puny degenerate grandees of the present day, sunk in vice, effeminacy, and sloth, and to whom valour, chivalry, and patriotism are but empty sounds! Alburquerque is a fine type of the feudal lord—noble as a crowned king, and almost as powerful. Receiving a cold and discouraging reply to Cabeza de Vaca's lofty harangue, he retired, followed by an army of adherents and vassals, to his vast domains and strong castle in Portugal. On their passage, his men-at-arms pillaged and devastated the country, that being then the most approved manner for a feudal lord to testify his discontent. Don Pedro ill concealed his joy at being thus easily rid of an importunate mentor, whose faithful services to himself and his father rendered a positive dismissal a most ungraceful act, the shame of which was saved the king by Alburquerque's voluntary retreat. The reaction was complete: all the ex-minister's friends were dismissed, and their places filled by partisans of the Padillas. Many of his acts were annulled, and several sentences he had given were reversed. Pedro had no rest till he had effaced every vestige of his wise and prudent administration. Ingratitude has too often been the vice of kings; in this instance it brought its own punishment. A few months later we find Henry of Trastamare, and his brother Tello, leagued with Alburquerque against the sovereign who had disgraced him in great measure on their account. This perfidy of the bastards was perfectly in keeping with the character of the age. "To characterise the fourteenth century in Spain by its most prevalent vice," says M. Mérimée, "one should cite, in my opinion, neither brutality of manners, nor rapacity, nor violence. The most prominent feature of that sad period is its falseness and deceit: never did history register so many acts of treason and perfidy. The century, rude in all other things, shows itself ingenious in the art of deception. It revels in subtleties. In all agreements, and even in the code of chivalrous honour, it conceals ambiguities, by which interest knows well how to profit. The oaths lavished in all transactions, accompanied by the most solemn ceremonies, are but vain formalities and matters of habit. He who plights his word, his hand upon the holy Scriptures, is believed by none unless he deliver up his wife and children, or, better still, his fortresses, as hostages for his truth. The latter pledge is held to be the only safe guarantee. Distrust is general, and every man sees an enemy in his neighbour." The fidelity of this gloomy picture is fully confirmed by the events of Don Pedro's reign. Alburquerque set the example to his royal pupil, who was not slow to follow it, and who soon, in his turn, suffered from the dominant vice of the time.

The necessity of pressing forward through a book whose every page offers temptations to linger, prevents our tracing, in detail, the subsequent events of Alburquerque's life. He died in the autumn of 1354, almost suddenly, at Medina del Campo, which he and his confederates had taken by assault, and given up to pillage. His physician, Master Paul, an Italian attached to the house of Prince Ferdinand of Arragon, was suspected of having mixed a subtle poison in the draught he administered to him for an apparently trifling indisposition. Don Pedro, the person most interested in the death of his quondam counsellor, and now bitter enemy, was accused of instigating the deed, and magnificent presents subsequently made by him to the leech, gave an air of probability to the suspicion. "In his last moments, Alburquerque belied not the firmness of his character. Near to death, he assembled his vassals, and made them swear to accept neither peace nor truce with the king, till they had obtained satisfaction for his wrongs. He ordered his body to be carried at the head of their battalion so long as the war lasted, as if resolved to abdicate his hatred and authority only after triumph. Enclosed in his coffin, he still seemed to preside over the councils of the league; and, when deliberations were held, his corpse was interrogated, and his majordomo, Cabeza de Vaca, replied in the name of his departed master." There is something solemn and affecting in this post-humous [347] deference, this homage paid by the living to the dead. Alburquerque was unquestionably the man of his day in the Peninsula: his grand and haughty figure stands out upon the historical canvass, in imposing contrast with the boy-brawlers and intriguing women by whom he was surrounded.

Deserted by all—betrayed even by his own mother, who gave up his last stronghold whilst he was absent on a visit to his mistress—the king had no resource but to throw himself into the hands of the rebels, trusting to their magnanimity and loyalty to preserve him his crown. With Hinestrosa, Simuel Levi his Jew treasurer, and Fernand Sanchez his private chancellor, for sole companions—and followed by a few lackeys and inferior officers, mounted on mules and unarmed—he set out for Toro, then the headquarters of the insurgent league. "Informed of the approach of this melancholy procession, the chiefs of the confederates rode out to meet him, well mounted and in magnificent dresses, beneath which their armour was visible, as if to contrast their warlike equipage with the humble retinue of the vanquished king. After kissing his hand, they escorted him to the town with great cries of joy, caracoling about him, performing fantasias, pursuing each other, and throwing reeds in the Arab manner. It is said that when Don Henry approached his brother to salute him, the unfortunate monarch could not restrain his tears. 'May God be merciful to you!' he said; 'for my part, I pardon you.'" There was no sincerity in this forgiveness; already, in the hour of his humiliation, Pedro had vowed hatred and vengeance against its authors. At present, however, artifice and intrigue were the only weapons at his disposal. By the assistance of Simuel the Jew, who was sincerely attached to him, and who rendered him many and great services, he gained over a portion of the revolted nobility, concluded an alliance with the royal family of Arragon, and finally effected his escape from the sort of semi-captivity in which he was held. "Profiting by dense fog, Don Pedro rode out of Toro very early in the morning, a falcon on his wrist, as though he went a-hawking, accompanied by Levi, and by his usual escort of some two hundred cavaliers. Either these were bribed, or the king devised means of detaching them from him, for he soon found himself alone with the Jew. Then, following the rout to Segovia at full speed, in a few hours they were beyond pursuit." During the short period of Pedro's captivity, a great change had taken place in public feeling. The king's misfortunes, his youth and firmness, interested many in his behalf. The Cortes, which he summoned at Burgos, a few days after his escape, granted all his demands of men and money. M. Mérimée thinks it probable the commons obtained from him, in return, an extension of their privileges and franchises; but this is mere conjecture, no records existing of the proceedings of this Cortes, which was, in fact, rendered irregular by the absence of the clerical deputies, the Pope having just excommunicated Don Pedro for his adulteries. "The excommunication, fulminated by a papal legate at Toledo, the 19th January 1355, does not appear to have altered, in any degree, the disposition of the people towards the king. On the contrary, it excited indignation, now that he was reconciled with his subjects; for Spaniards have always disliked foreign interference in their affairs." The thunders of Avignon lost not Pedro a single partisan. He replied to them by seizing the possessions of Cardinal Gilles Albornoz, and of some other prelates; and, returning threat for threat, he announced his intention of confiscating the domains of all the bishops who should waver between him and the Pope. The rebellion of his nobles, the treason of his mother and friends, the humiliation he had suffered, had wrought a marked change in the still plastic character of the young sovereign. Hitherto we have seen him violent and impetuous; henceforward we shall find dissimulation and cruelty his most prominent qualities. He had prided himself on chivalrous loyalty and honour; now all means were good that led to a triumph over his enemies. Full of hatred and contempt for the great vassals who, after having insolently vanquished him, basely sold the fruits of their victory for fair promises and for Simuel Levi's gold, he vowed to [348] destroy their power, and to build up his authority upon the ruins of feudal tyranny.

The angry king lost no time in commencing the work of vengeance. After a fierce contest in and around Toledo, he routed the army of Count Henry and Don Fadrique, slew all the wounded, put to death one of the twenty leaguers, whom he caught in the town, (two had already been massacred by his order at Medina del Campo,) imprisoned many nobles, as well as the Bishop of Siguenza, whose palace was given up to pillage. "Twenty burgesses of Toledo were publicly decapitated as abettors of the rebellion. Amongst the unfortunate persons condemned to death was a jeweller, upwards of eighty years old. His son threw himself at the feet of Don Pedro, petitioning to die in place of his father. If we may credit Ayala, this horrible exchange was accepted both by the king and by the father himself." From Toledo, Pedro marched on Toro, where the bastards, the queen-mother, and most of the ricos hombres and knights who adhered to the league, had concentrated their forces, and prepared an obstinate resistance. He established himself in a village near the town, but lacked the engines, instruments, and stores necessary to invest the place regularly. Money was scarce. Fortunately, Simuel Levi was at hand, the pearl of finance ministers, compared to whom the Mons and Mendizabals of the nineteenth century are bunglers of the most feeble description.

"Don Pedro, in his quarters at Morales, was amusing himself one day by playing at dice. Before him stood open his military chest, which was also his play-purse. It contained 20,000 doubloons. 'Gold and silver,' said the king, in a melancholy tone,—'here is all I possess.' The game over, Simuel took his master aside: 'Sire,' he said, 'you have affronted me before all the court. Since I am your treasurer, is it not disgraceful for me that my master be not richer? Hitherto, your collectors have relied too much upon your easiness and indulgence. Now that you are of an age to reign for yourself, that all Castile loves and fears you, it is time to put an end to disorder. Only be pleased to authorise me to treat with your officers of the finances, and confide to me two of your castles, and I pledge myself that, in a very short time, you shall have in each of them a treasure of greater value than the contents of this casket.'" The king gladly gave what was required of him, and the Jew kept his word. His manner of doing so paints the strange immorality of the times. It was customary to pay all court-salaries and pensions by orders on the royal receivers of imposts. These usually paid only a part of the amount of such orders, and unless the demand for the balance were backed by force, it was never honoured. Simuel Levi, having men-at-arms, jailers, and executioners at his orders, compelled these reluctant paymasters to disgorge all arrears; then sending for the king's creditors, he offered them fifty per cent of their due against receipts for the whole. Most of them, never expecting to recover a real of the sums kept back by the dishonest stewards, caught eagerly at the offer. This clumsy fraud, against which none found anything to say, brought considerable wealth into the king's coffers, and gave him the highest opinion of his treasurer, by whose careful administration he soon found himself the richest monarch in Spain.

Money removed the obstacles to the siege of Toro. Before the place was invested, however, Henry of Trastamare, with his usual precocious selfishness and prudence, found a pretext to leave it. A breach made, and part of the exterior fortifications in the possession of the royal troops, the Master of Santiago passed over to the king, who, from the opposite bank of the Douro, had given him verbal promise of pardon. The same night an officer of the civic guard opened the gates of the town to Pedro and his army. At daybreak the garrison of the castle saw themselves surrounded by overpowering forces, about to mount to the assault. "None spoke of resistance, or even of capitulation; safety of life was almost more than they dared hope. Fearing the king's fury, all refused to go out and implore his clemency. At last a Navarrese knight, named Martin Abarca, who in the last troubles had taken part [349] with the bastards, risked himself at a postern, holding in his arms a child of twelve or thirteen years, natural son of King Alphonso and of Doña Leonora. Recognising the king by his armour, he called to him and said—'Sire! grant me pardon, and I hasten to throw myself at your feet, and to restore to you your brother Don Juan!'—'Martin Abarca,' said the king, 'I pardon my brother Don Juan; but for you, no mercy!'—'Well!' said the Navarrese, crossing the ditch, 'do with me as you list.' And, still carrying the child, he prostrated himself before the king. Don Pedro, touched by this hardihood of despair, gave him his life in presence of all his knights." This clemency was soon obscured by the terrible scenes that followed the surrender of the castle, when the robe of Pedro's own mother was stained with the blood of the nobles struck down by her side. She fainted with horror—perhaps with grief; for Martin Telho, a Portuguese, and her reputed lover, was amongst the murdered; and, on recovering her senses, "she saw herself sustained in the arms of rude soldiers, her feet in a pool of blood, whilst four mangled bodies lay before her, already stripped of their armour and clothes. Then, despair and fury restoring her strength, she cursed her son, in a voice broken by sobs, and accused him of having for ever dishonoured her. She was led away to her palace, and there treated with the mockery of respect which the leaguers had shown, the year before, to their royal captive."

It were quite incompatible with the necessary limits of this paper, to give even the most meagre outline of the numerous vicissitudes of Don Pedro's reign, and to glance at a tithe of the remarkable events and striking incidents his biographer has so industriously and tastefully assembled. M. Mérimée's work does not bear condensing in a review; indeed, it is itself a condensation: an ordinary writer would have spread the same matter over twice the space, and still have deemed himself concise. The impression left on the reader's mind by this spirited and admirably written volume is, that not one page could be omitted without being missed. Sparing as we have been of detail, and although confining ourselves to a glance at prominent circumstances, we are still at the very commencement of Don Pedro's reign—the busiest and most stirring, perhaps, that ever was comprised within the space of twenty years. Not a few of this warlike, cruel, and amorous monarch's adventures have been handed down in the form of ballads and heroic legends, still current in southern Spain, where many of them have the weight of history—although the license of poetry, and the transmission through many generations, have frequently greatly distorted facts. Amongst the numerous objects of his fickle passion was Doña Aldonza Coronel, who, after some show of resistance, and taking refuge for a while in a convent where her sister was nun, showed herself sensible to the solicitations of royalty. Popular tradition has substituted for Aldonza her sister Maria, widow of Juan de la Cerda, whom Pedro had put to death. The people of Seville the Beautiful still believe and tell how "Doña Maria, chaste as lovely, indignantly repulsed the king's addresses. But in vain did she oppose the gratings of the convent of St Clara as a bulwark against the impetuous passion of the tyrant. Warned that his satellites were about to drag her from the sanctuary, she ordered a large hole to be dug in the convent garden, in which she lay down, and had herself covered with branches and earth. The fresh-turned soil would infallibly have betrayed her, had not a miracle supervened. Scarcely had she entered this manner of tomb, when flowers and herbage sprang up over it, so that nothing distinguished it from the surrounding grass. The king, discrediting the report of his emissaries, went in person to the convent to carry off the beautiful widow; this time it was not a miracle, but an heroic stratagem, that saved the noble matron. Abhorring the fatal beauty that thus exposed her to outrage, she seized, with a steady hand, a vase of boiling oil, and poured it over her face and bosom; then, covered with horrible burns, she presented herself to the king, and made him fly in terror, by declaring herself afflicted with leprosy. 'On [350] her body, which has been miraculously preserved,' says Zuñiga, 'are still visible the traces of the burning liquid, and assuredly it may with good reason be deemed the body of a saint.'[28] I have dwelt upon this legend, unknown to the contemporary authors," adds M. Mérimée, "to give an idea of the transformation Don Pedro's history has undergone at the hands of tradition, and of the poetical colours imparted to it by the lively imagination of the people of Spain. After the marvellous narrative, comes the simple truth of history." Ballads and traditions are echoes of the popular voice; and, in many of those relating to Don Pedro, we may trace a disposition to extenuate his faults, extol his justice, and bring into relief his occasional acts of generosity. The truth is, that, although harsh and relentless with his arrogant nobles, he was affable with the people, who beheld in him their deliverer from oppression, and the unflinching opponent of the iniquities of the feudal system. Facility of access is a great source of popularity in Spain, where the independent tone and bearing of the lower orders often surprise foreigners. In no country in the world is the character of the people more free from servility. In the poorest peasant there is an air of native dignity and self-respect, which he loves to see responded to by consideration and affability on the part of his superiors. Don Pedro was very accessible to his subjects. When he met his first Cortes at Valladolid, in 1351, he promised the deputies of the commons that every Castilian should have liberty to appeal from the decisions of the magistrates to the king in person. This promise he kept better than was his wont. In the court of the Alcazar at Seville, near the gate known as that of the Banners, are shown the remains of a tribunal, in the open air, where he sat to give his judgments. He had another habit likely to conciliate and please the people. In imitation of the Eastern caliphs, whose adventures had doubtless amused his childhood, he loved to disguise himself, and to ramble at night in the streets of Seville—to listen to the conversation of the populace, to seek adventures, and overlook the police. Here was a suggestive text for balladists and romance writers, who have largely availed themselves of it. The story of Don Pedro's duel with a stranger, with whom he quarrelled on one of these expeditions, is well known. An old woman, sole witness of the encounter, deposed that the combatants had their faces muffled in their cloaks, but that the knees of one of them made a cracking noise in walking. This was known to be a peculiarity of Don Pedro's. Justice was puzzled. The king had killed his adversary, and had thereby incurred the punishment of decapitation. Pedro had his head carved in stone, and placed in a niche in the street where the duel had taken place. The bust, which was unfortunately renewed in the seventeenth century, is still to be seen at Seville, in the street of the Candilejo, which takes its name, according to Zuñiga, from the lamp by whose light the duel was fought. Condemned at his own tribunal, we need not wonder at the lenity of his sentence, more creditable to the royal culprit's invention than to his justice. He appears to have been frequently ingenious in his judgments. A rich priest had seriously injured a poor shoemaker, and, for sole punishment, was condemned by the ecclesiastical tribunal to a few months' suspension from his sacerdotal functions. The shoemaker, deeming the chastisement inadequate, waylaid his enemy, and soundly drubbed him. Arrested immediately, he was condemned to death. He appealed to the king. The partiality of the ecclesiastical judges had excited some scandal; Don Pedro parodied their sentence by condemning the shoemaker to make no shoes for one year. Whether this anecdote be true, or a mere invention, it is certain that a remarkable law was added, about [351] that time, to the code of the city of Seville, to the effect that a layman, injuring an ecclesiastic, should thenceforward be liable only to the same punishment that the priest would have incurred by a like offence against the layman.

The murder of the Grand-master of Santiago, slain by his brother's order, and the death of the unfortunate French princess, who found a tyrant where she expected a husband, are recorded in the Romances of the Master Don Fadrique, and of Blanche de Bourbon. The fate of Blanche, attributed by contemporary chroniclers and modern historians to Don Pedro's orders, is one of the blackest of the stains upon his character. The poor queen died in the castle of Jerez—some say by poison, others by the mace of an arbalister of the guard. She had lived but twenty-five years, ten of which she had passed in prison. There is no appearance or probability that Maria Padilla instigated her assassination. That favourite was kind-hearted and merciful, and on more than one occasion we find her interceding with the king for the lives of his enemies and prisoners, and weeping when her supplications proved fruitless. The ballad makes free with fact, and sacrifices truth to poetry. It was dramatically correct that the mistress should instigate the wife's death. "Be not so sad, Doña Maria de Padilla," says the king; "if I married twice, it was for your advantage, and to show my contempt for this Blanche of Bourbon. I send her to Medina Sidonia, to work me a banner—the ground, colour of her blood, the embroidery, of her tears. This banner, Doña Maria, I will have it made for you:" and forthwith the ruthless arbalister departs, after a knight had refused to do the felon deed. "Oh France, my noble country! oh my Bourbon blood!" cries poor Blanche; "to-day I complete my seventeen years, and enter my eighteenth. What have I done to you, Castile? The crowns you gave me were crowns of blood and sighs!" And thus she laments till the mace falls, "and the brains of her head are strewed about the hall." The song-writer, amongst other liberties, has struck eight years off the victim's age, perhaps with the idea of rendering her more interesting. The exact manner of her death seems uncertain, although Ayala agrees with the ballad, and most subsequent historians have followed his version. M. Mérimée is disposed to exculpate Pedro, alleging the complete inutility of the murder, and that ten years of captivity and ill treatment were sufficient to account for the queen's death. Admitting the latter plea, we cannot see in it a diminution of the crime. In either case Pedro was the murderer of his hapless wife, who was innocent of all offence against him; and his extraordinary aversion for whom might well give rise, in that superstitious age, to the tales of sorcery and magic charms already quoted. The details of Don Fadrique's death are more precise and authentic, as it was also more merited. But, although the Master of Santiago had been guilty of many acts of treason, and at the time of his death was conspiring against the king, his execution by a brother's order, and before a brother's eyes, is shocking and repugnant. It was Don Fadrique's policy, at that moment, to parade the utmost devotion to Pedro, the better to mask his secret plans. Arriving one day at Seville, on a visit to the king, he found the latter playing at draughts with a courtier. True to his habits of dissimulation, Pedro, who only a few hours previously had decided on the Master's death, received him with a frank air and pleasant smile, and gave him his hand to kiss; and then, seeing that he was well attended, bade him take up his quarters, and then return. After visiting Maria Padilla, who gazed at him with tears in her eyes,—knowing his doom, but not daring to warn him,—Fadrique went down into the court, found his escort gone, and the gates shut. Surprised and uneasy, he hesitated what to do, when two knights summoned him to the king's apartments, in a detached building within the walls of the Alcazar.

"At the door stood Pero Lopez Padilla, chief of the mace-bearers of the guard, with four of his people. Don Fadrique, still accompanied by the Master of Calatrava (Diego Padilla) knocked at the door. Only one of its folds opened, and within appeared the king, who forthwith [352] exclaimed, 'Pero Lopez, arrest the Master!'—'Which of the two, sire?' inquired the officer, hesitating between Don Fadrique and Don Diego de Padilla. 'The Master of Santiago!' replied the king in a voice of thunder. Immediately Pero Lopez, seizing Don Fadrique's arm, said, 'You are my prisoner.' Don Fadrique, astounded, made no resistance; when the king cried out, 'Arbalisters, kill the Master of Santiago!' Surprise, and respect for the red cross of St James, for an instant fettered the men to the spot. Then one of the knights of the palace, advancing to the door, said: 'Traitors! what do you? Heard you not the king's command to kill the Master?' The arbalisters lifted the mace, when Don Fadrique, vigorously shaking off the grasp of Pero Lopez, sprang back into the court with the intention of defending himself. But the hilt of his sword, which he wore under the large mantle of his order, was entangled with the belt, and he could not draw. Pursued by the arbalisters, he ran to and fro in the court, avoiding their blows, but unable to get his sword out. At last one of the king's guards, named Nuño Fernandez, struck him on the head with his mace, and knocked him down; and the three others immediately showered their blows upon the fallen man, who lay bathed in his blood when Don Pedro came down into the court, seeking the knights of Santiago, to slay them with their chief."

In the very chamber of Maria Padilla, the assassin-king gave with his own hand the first stab to his brother's esquire, who had taken refuge there. Leaving the ensanguined boudoir, (Maria Padilla's apartments in the Alcazar were a sort of harem, where much oriental pomp was observed,) he returned to the Master, and finding he still breathed, he gave his dagger to an African slave to despatch him. Then he sat down to dinner in an apartment two paces distant from his brother's corpse.

It is a relief to turn from acts of such unnatural barbarity to the traits of chivalrous generosity that sparkle, at long intervals, it is true, upon the dark background of Pedro's character. One of these, connected with a singularly romantic incident, is attested by Alonzo Martinez de Talavera, chaplain of John II. of Castile, a chronicler M. Mérimée is disposed to hold in high esteem. In one of his campaigns against his rebellious brethren and their Arragonese allies, the king laid siege to the castle of Cabezon, belonging to Count Trastamare; and whose governor, summoned to yield, refused even to parley.

"Yet the whole garrison of the castle consisted but of ten esquires, Castilian exiles; but behind thick and lofty walls, in a tower built on perpendicular rocks, and against which battering engines could not be brought, ten resolute men might defend themselves against an army, and need only yield to famine. The place being well provisioned, the siege was likely to be long. But the ten esquires, all young men, were better able bravely to repulse an assault than patiently to endure the tedium of a blockade. Time hung heavy upon their hands, they wanted amusement, and at last they insolently insisted that the governor should give them women to keep them company in their eyrie. Now, the only women in Cabezon were the governor's wife and daughter. 'If you do not deliver them to us, to be dealt with as we list,' said the garrison to the governor, 'we abandon your castle, or, better still, we open its gate to the King of Castile!' In such an emergency, the code of chivalrous honour was stringent. At the siege of Tarifa, Alonzo Perez de Guzman, summoned to surrender the town, under penalty of seeing his son massacred before his eyes, answered the Moors by throwing them his sword, wherewith to slay the child. This action, which procured the governor of Tarifa the surname of Guzman the Good, was a fazaña (an exploit)—one of those heroic precedents which everyman of honour was bound to imitate. Permittitur homicidium filii potius quam deditio castelli, is the axiom of a doctor in chivalry of that epoch. The governor of Cabezon, as magnanimous in his way as Guzman the Good, so arranged matters that his garrison no longer thought of abandoning him. But two of the esquires, less corrupt than their comrades, conceived a horror of their treason, and escaped from the castle. Led before the king, they informed him of the mutiny they had witnessed, and of its consequences. Don Pedro, indignant, forthwith entreated the governor to let him do justice on the offenders. In exchange for those felons, he offered ten gentlemen of his army, who, before entering Cabezon, should take a solemn oath to defend the castle against all assailants, even against the king himself, and to die at their posts with the governor. This proposal having been accepted, the king had the traitors quartered, [353] and their remains were afterwards burned. Through the colours with which a romantic imagination has adorned this incident, it is difficult to separate truth from fiction; but we at least distinguish the popular opinion of the character of Don Pedro—a strange amalgamation of chivalrous sentiments, and of love of justice, carried to ferocity."

There was very little justice, or gratitude either, in the king's treatment of his Jew treasurer. Don Simuel el Levi,[29] Israelite though he was, had proved himself a stancher friend and more loyal subject than any Christian of Pedro's court. He had borne him company in his captivity—had aided his escape—had renovated his finances—had been his minister, treasurer, and confidant. Suddenly Simuel was thrown into prison. On the same day, and throughout the kingdom, his kinsmen and agents were all arrested. His crime was his prodigious wealth. Pedro, ignorant of the resources of trade, could not believe that his treasurer had grown rich otherwise than at his expense. Simuel's property was seized; then, as he was suspected of having concealed the greater part of his treasures, he was taken to Seville and put to the torture, under which he expired. The king is said to have found in his coffers large sums of gold and silver, besides a quantity of jewels and rich stuffs, all of which he confiscated. A sum of 300,000 doubloons was also found in the hands of Simuel's relatives, receivers under his orders: this proceeded from the taxes, whose collection was intrusted to him, and was about to be paid into the king's exchequer. There is reason to believe, adds M. Mérimée, that Levi, like Jacques Cœur a century later, was the victim of the ignorance and cupidity of a master he had faithfully served.[30]


We have dwelt so long upon the early pages of this history, and have so often been led astray by the interest of the notes and anecdotes with which they are thickly strewn, that we have left ourselves without space for a notice of those portions of the bulky volume most likely to rivet the attention of the English reader. When the Grandes Compagnies—those formidable condottieri, who, for a time, may be said to have ruled in France—crossed the Pyrenees to fight for Henry of Trastamare, whilst the troops of England and Guyenne came to the help of Pedro; when the great champions of their respective countries, Edward the Black Prince and Bertrand du Guesclin, bared steel in the civil strife of Spain,—then came the tug of war and fierce encounter—then did the tide of battle roll its broad impetuous stream. For even at that remote period, although Spain boasted a valiant chivalry and stubborn men-at-arms, her wars were often a series of skirmishes, surprises, treacheries, and camp-intrigues, rather than of pitched battles in the field. The same sluggishness and indolence on the part of Spanish generals, so conspicuous at the present day, was then frequently observable. We read of divisions—whose timely arrival would have changed the fate of a battle—coming up so slowly that their friends were beaten before they appeared; of generals marching out, and marching back again, without striking a single blow; or remaining, for days together, gazing at their opponents without risking an attack. Even then, the Spaniards were a nation of guerillas.

"Accustomed to a war of rapid skirmishes against the Moors, they had adopted their mode of fighting. Covered with light coats of mail, or with doublets of quilted cloth, mounted on light and active horses, their genetaires (light horsemen) hurled their javelins at a gallop, then turned bridle, without caring to keep their ranks. With the exception of the military orders, better armed and disciplined than the genetaires, the Spanish cavalry were unable to offer resistance in line to the English or French men-at-arms."

The infantry of Spain, afterwards esteemed the best in Europe, was at that time so lightly considered as to be rarely enumerated in the strength of an army. The English footsoldiers, on the other hand, had already achieved a brilliant reputation. "Armed with tall bows of yew," says M. Mérimée, "they sheltered themselves behind pointed stakes planted in the ground, and, thus protected against cavalry, let fly arrows an ell long, which few cuirasses could resist." The equipment of the English cavalry was far superior to that of the Spanish horsemen. Ayala recapitulates, with astonishment, the various pieces of armour in use amongst those northern warriors. Plates of steel and forged iron were worn over jerkins of thick leather, and even over shirts of mail. The bull-dog courage of the men was not less remarkable than the strength of their defensive arms. It is interesting to read of the exploits of a handful of English soldiers on the very ground where, four hundred and forty-six years later, an army of that nation crushed the hosts of France. Sir Thomas Felton, seneschal of Guyenne, was attacked, when at a considerable distance from the English army, near Ariñiz, two leagues from Vitoria, by more than three thousand French gendarmes and Spanish light horse.

"Felton had but two hundred men-at arms, and as many archers. He lost not courage, but dismounted his cavalry, and [355] drew them up on a steep hillock. His brother, William Felton, alone refused to quit his horse. With lance in rest, he charged into the midst of the Castilians, and at the first blow drove his weapon completely through the body and iron armour of a foe; he was immediately cut to pieces. His comrades, closing round their banner, defended themselves, for several hours, with the courage of despair. At last the adventurers, headed by the Marshal d'Audeneham and the Bègue de Vilaines, dismounted, and, forming column, broke the English phalanx, whilst the Spanish cavalry charged it in rear. All were slain in the first fury of victory, but the heroic resistance of this scanty band of Englishmen struck even their enemies with admiration. The memory of Felton's glorious defeat is preserved in the province, where is still shown, near Ariñiz, the hillock upon which, after fighting an entire day, he fell, covered with wounds. It is called, in the language of the country, Ingles-mendi, the English Hill."

This gallant but unimportant skirmish comprised (with the exception of a dash made by Don Tello at the English foragers, of whom he killed a good number) all the fighting that took place at that time upon the plain of Vitoria; although some historians have made that plain the scene of the decisive battle fought soon afterwards, between Edward of England and Don Pedro on the one hand, and du Guesclin and Henry of Trastamare on the other. Toreno correctly indicates the ground of this action, which occurred on the right bank of the Ebro, between Najera and Navarrete. It is true that the Prince of Wales offered battle near Vitoria, drawing up his army on the heights of Santo Romano, close to the village of Alegria, just in the line of the flight of the French when beaten in 1813. The Prince did this boldly and confidently, although anxious for the coming up of his rear-guard, which was still seven leagues off. "That day," says Froissart, "the prince had many a pang in his heart, because his rear-guard delayed so long to come." But the enemy were in no haste to attack. Only a day or two previously, Don Henry had assembled his captains in council of war, "to communicate to them," says M. Mérimée, "a letter the King of France had written him, urging him not to tempt fortune by risking a battle against so able a general as the Prince of Wales, and such formidable soldiers as the veteran bands he commanded. Bertrand du Guesclin, Marshal d'Audeneham, and most of the French adventurers, were of the same opinion—frankly declaring that, in regular battle, the English were invincible. Du Guesclin's advice was to harass them by continual skirmishes," &c., &c.; and the result of the council was, that Don Henry resolved to keep as much as possible on the defensive, and in the mountains, where his light troops had a great advantage over their enemies, who were heavily armed, and unaccustomed to a guerilla warfare. It had been well for him had he adhered to this resolution, instead of allowing himself to be carried away by his ardour, and by the confidence with which a successful skirmish had inspired him. In vain du Guesclin, and the other captains, tried to detain him in rear of the little river Najerilla: declaring his intention of finishing the war by one decisive combat, he led his army into the plain. When the Black Prince, who little expected such temerity, was informed of the movement—"By St George!" he exclaimed, "in yonder bastard there lives a valiant knight!" Then he proceeded to take up his position for the fight that now was certain to take place. "At sunrise, Count Henry beheld the English army drawn up in line, in admirable order; their gay banners and pennons floating above a forest of lances. Already all the men-at-arms had dismounted.[31]... The Prince of Wales devoutly offered up a prayer, and, having called heaven to witness the justice of his cause, held out his hand to Don Pedro: 'Sir King,' he said, 'in an hour you will know if you are King of Castile.' Then he cried out, 'Banners forward, in the name of God and St George!"

We will not diminish, by extract or [356] abridgment, the pleasure of those of our readers who may peruse M. Mérimée's masterly and picturesque account of the battle, whose triumphant termination was tarnished by an act of ferocious cruelty on the part of the Castilian king. Don Pedro had proved himself, as usual, a gallant soldier in the fight; and long after the English trumpets had sounded the recall, he spurred his black charger on the track of the fugitive foe. At last, exhausted by fatigue, he was returning to the camp, when he met a Gascon knight bringing back as prisoner Iñigo Lopez Orozco, once an intimate of the king's, but who had abandoned him after his flight from Burgos. In spite of the efforts of the Gascon to protect him, Pedro slew his renegade adherent in cold blood, and with his own hand. The English were indignant at this barbarous revenge, and sharp words were exchanged between Pedro and the Black Prince. Indeed, it was hardly possible that sympathy should exist between the generous and chivalrous Edward and his blood-thirsty and crafty ally, and this dispute was the first symptom of the mutual aversion they afterwards exhibited. From the very commencement, the Prince of Wales appears to have espoused the cause of legitimacy in opposition to his personal predilections. His admiration of Count Henry, and good opinion of his abilities, frequently breaks out. After the signal victory of Najera, which seemed to have fixed the crown of Castile more firmly than ever upon Pedro's brow, Edward was the only man who judged differently of the future. "The day after the battle, when the knights charged by him to examine the dead and the prisoners came to make their report, he asked in the Gascon dialect, which he habitually spoke: 'E lo bort, es mort ó pres? And the Bastard, is he killed or taken?' The answer was, that he had disappeared from the field of battle, and that all trace of him was lost. 'Non ay res faït!' exclaimed the prince; 'Nothing is done.'"

The Black Prince spoke in a prophetic spirit: the sequel proved the wisdom of his words. The battle of Najera was fought on the 3d April 1367. Two years later, less eleven days, on the 23d March 1369—Edward and his gallant followers having in the interim returned to Guyenne, disgusted with the ingratitude and bad faith of the king they had replaced upon his throne—the Bastard was master of Spain, where Don Pedro's sole remaining possession was the castle of Montiel, within whose walls the fallen monarch was closely blockaded. Negotiations ensued, in which Bertrand du Guesclin shared, and in which there can be little doubt he played a treacherous part. It is to the credit of M. Mérimée's impartiality, that he does not seek to shield the French hero, but merely urges, in extenuation of his conduct, the perverted morality and strange code of knightly honour accepted in those days. By whomsoever lured, in the night-time Pedro left his stronghold, expecting to meet, outside its walls, abettors and companions of a meditated flight. Instead of such aid, he found himself a captive, and presently he stood face to face with Henry of Trastamare. The brothers bandied insults, a blow was dealt, and they closed in mortal strife. Around them a circle of chevaliers gazed with deep interest at this combat of kings. Pedro, the taller and stronger man, at first had the advantage. Then a bystander—some say du Guesclin, others, an Arragonese, Rocaberti—pulled the king by the leg as he held his brother under him, and changed the fortune of the duel. What ensued is best told in the words of Lockhart's close and admirable version of a popular Spanish ballad:—

"Now Don Henry has the upmost,
Now King Pedro lies beneath;
In his heart his brother's poniard
Instant finds its bloody sheath.
Thus with mortal gasp and quiver,
While the blood in bubbles well'd,
Fled the fiercest soul that ever
In a Christian bosom dwell'd."



The British Parliament has again been summoned to resume its labours. The period which intervened between the close of the last, and the opening of the present session, was fraught with great anxiety to those who believed that the cause of order and peace depended upon the check that might be given to the democratic spirit, then raging so fearfully throughout Europe. France, under the dictatorship of Cavaignac, had emerged a little from the chaotic slough into which she had been plunged by the wickedness, imbecility, and treason of a junta of self-constituted ministers—men who held their commissions from the sovereign mob of Paris, and who were ready, for that sovereign's sake, to ruin and prostrate their country. Foremost among these ministers was Lamartine, a theorist whose intentions might be good, but whose exorbitant vanity made him a tool in the hands of others who had embraced revolution as a trade. Of this stamp were Ledru-Rollin, Louis Blanc, and, we may add, Marrast,—men who had nothing to lose, but everything to gain, from the continuance of popular disorder. Fortunately, the daring attempt of June—which, if it had succeeded, would have surrendered Paris to be sacked—was suppressed with sufficient bloodshed. Military domination took the place of helpless democratic fraternity; the barricades went down amidst the thunder of the cannon, and the rascaldom of the Faubourg St Antoine found, to their cost, that they were not yet altogether triumphant. Of the subsequent election of Louis Napoleon to the presidentship we need not speak. It would be in vain, under present circumstances, to speculate upon the probable destinies of France. All that we have to remark now is her attitude, which, we think, is symptomatic of improvement. The socialist theories are wellnigh exploded. Equality may exist in name, but it is not recognised as a reality. The provinces have suffered enough from revolution to abhor the thought of anarchy; and they long for any government strong and resolute enough to enforce the laws, and to stamp with its heel on the head of the Jacobin hydra.

Austria, on the other side, has done her duty nobly. Astounded as we certainly were at the outbreak of revolution in Vienna, we had yet that confidence, in the spirit and loyalty of the old Teutonic chivalry, that we never for a moment believed that the mighty fabric of ages would be allowed to crumble down, or the imperial crown to fall from the head of the descendant of the Cæsars. And so it has proved. The revolt occasioned in the southern provinces by the co-operation of Jacobinism, under the specious mask of nationality, with the mean and selfish ambition of an intriguing Italian potentate, has been triumphantly suppressed. Vienna, after experiencing the horrors of ruffian occupation—after having seen assassination rife in her streets, and the homes of her burghers delivered over to the lust and pillage of the anarchists—has again returned to her fealty. The insurrections in Bohemia and Hungary have been met by the strong arm of power; the schemes of treason and of faction have been discomfited; nor can modern history afford us nobler examples of heroism and devotion than have been exhibited by Windischgrätz and Jellachich. Whilst the democratic press, even in this country, was sympathising with the insurgents—whilst treason, murder, and rapine were palliated and excused, and fulsome and bombastic panegyrics pronounced upon the leading demagogues of the movement—we have watched the efforts of Austria towards the recovery of her equilibrium, with an anxiety which we scarcely can express; because we felt convinced that, upon her success or her defeat, upon the maintenance of her position as a colossal united power, or her division into petty states, depended, in a large measure, the future tranquillity of Europe. Most happily she has succeeded, and has thereby given the death-blow to the hopes of the besotted visionaries at Frankfort. The [358] Central Power of Germany, as that singular assemblage of mountebanks, with a weak old imbecile at their head, has been somewhat facetiously denominated—that pseudo-parliament, which, without power to enforce its decrees, or any comprehensible scheme of action, has arrogated to itself the right of over-riding monarchies—is gradually dwindling into contempt. Even Frederick-William of Prussia, its chief supporter and stay, has found out his vast mistake in yielding to the democratic principle as the means of ultimately securing for himself the rule of a united Germany. The attempt has already wellnigh cost him the crown which he wears. He now sees, as he might have seen earlier, but for the mists of interest and ambition, that the present movement was essentially a democratic one, and that its leaders merely held out the phantom of resuscitated imperialism in order to make converts, and to strike more effectually at every hereditary constitution. The farce cannot, in the ordinary nature of things, last much longer. Without Austria, Bavaria, and Prussia, there is no central power at all. The Frankfort parliament, as it at present exists, can be compared to nothing except a great Masonic assemblage. In humble imitation of the brethren of the mystic tie, it is solemnly creating grand chancellors, grand seneschals, and, for aught we know, grand tylers also for an empire which is not in existence; and, without a farthing in its treasury, is decreeing civil lists and bounties to its imperial grand master! Unfortunately, the state of Europe has been such that we cannot afford to laugh even at such palpable fooleries. They tend to prolong excitement and disorder throughout a considerable portion of the Continent; and already, through such antics, we have been on the eve of a general war, occasioned by the unjust attempts to deprive Denmark of her Schleswig provinces. The sooner, therefore, that the parliament of Frankfort ceases to have an existence the better. It hardly can exist if the larger states do their duty, without jealousy of each other, but with reference to the common weal.

But though the democratic progress, under whatsoever form it appeared, has thus received a check in northern Europe, it is still raging with undiminished violence in the south. British diplomatic relations with the See of Rome have received the coup-de-grace, in the forcible expulsion of the Sovereign Pontiff from his territories! The leading reformer of the age—the propagandist successor of St Peter—has surrendered his pastoral charge, and fled from the howling of his flock, now suddenly metamorphosed into wolves. There, as elsewhere, liberalism has signalised itself by assassination. The star of freedom, of which Lord Minto was the delegated prophet, has appeared in the form of a bloody and terrific meteor. Even revolutionised France felt her bowels moved by some latent Christian compunction, and prepared an armament to rescue, if needful, the unfortunate patriarch from his children. More recently, the Grand-duke of Tuscany—a prince whose mild rule and kindly government were such that democracy itself could frame no articulate charge against him, beyond the fact of his being a sovereign—has been compelled to abandon his territory, and to take refuge elsewhere.

Such is the state of the continent of Europe at the opening of the new session of Parliament—a state which, while it undeniably leaves great room for hope, and in some measure indicates a return to more settled principles of government, is very far from conveying an assurance of lasting tranquillity. It is now just a year since the sagacious Mr Cobden issued the second part of his prophecies to atone for the failure of the first. The repeal of the corn laws, and the other free-trade measures, having not only failed to enrich this country at the ratio of a hundred millions sterling annually—the premium which was confidently offered by the Manchester Association, as the price of their experiment—but, having somehow or other been followed by a calamitous deficit in the ordinary revenue, the member for the West Riding bethought himself of a new agitation for the disbandment of the British army, and the suppression of the navy, founded upon the experiences which he had gathered in the course of his Continental ovations. He told his faithful [359] myrmidons that all Europe was in a state of profound peace, and that war was utterly impossible. They echoed the cry, and at once, as if by magic, the torch of revolution was lighted up in every country save our own. Nor are we entitled to claim absolute exemption. Chartism exhibited itself at home in a more daring manner than ever before: nor do we wonder at this, since the depreciation of labour in the home market, the direct result of Peel's injudicious tariffs, drove many a man, from sheer desperation, into the ranks of the disloyal. Ireland was pacified only by a strong demonstration of military force; and, had that been withdrawn, rebellion was the inevitable consequence. Still, though his promises are thus shown to be utterly false, the undaunted Free-trader, in the teeth of facts and logic, persists in maintaining his conclusions. Again he shouts, raves, and agitates for an extensive military reduction; and, lo! the next Indian mail brings tidings of the war in the Punjaub!

Public attention, during the recess, has been very generally directed to the state of the finances of the country. No wonder. Last year, in proposing the first of his abortive budgets, Lord John Russell distinctly calculated the probable excess of the expenditure over the income at the sum of three millions and a quarter; to balance which he asked for an augmentation of the income tax—a proposal which the nation very properly scouted. But, whilst we state now, as we stated then, our determined opposition to the increase of the direct taxation of the country, we must remark that the free-trade party were hardly justified in withholding their support from a minister who had played their game with such unimpeachable docility, in an emergency directly resulting from the operation of their cherished system. The statement of Sir Charles Wood, to the effect that, during the last six years, the nation had remitted seven and a half millions of annual taxation, ought surely to have had the effect of an argument upon these impenetrable men. Seven millions and a half had been sacrificed before the Moloch of free trade. Good, benevolent, plain-dealing Sir Robert, and profound, calculating Lord John, had each, in preparing their annual estimates, lopped off some productive branch of the customs, and smilingly displayed it to the country, as a proof of their desire to lessen the weight of the national burdens. That our revenue should fall was, of course, a necessary consequence. Fall it did, and that with such rapidity that Sir Robert Peel dared not take off the income tax, which he had imposed upon the country with a distinct and solemn pledge that it was merely to be temporary in its duration, but handed it over as a permanent legacy to his successor, who coolly proposed to augment it! Now it really required no reflection at all to see that, if our statesmen chose, for the sake of popularity or otherwise, thus to tamper with the revenue, and to lessen the amount of the customs, a deficit must, sooner or later, occur. Not the least baneful effect of the policy pursued by Sir Robert Peel has been the system of calculating the estimates so low, and adapting the income so closely to the national expenditure, that a surplus, to be handed over to the commissioners for the reduction of the national debt, is now a tradition. We have abandoned the idea of a surplus, nor can it ever again be realised under the operation of the present system. Instead of a surplus we have a permanent income tax, and, more than that, a fresh debt incurred by us, under Whig management, of no less than ten millions.

Such being the state of our finances, the question naturally suggests itself to the mind of every thinking man, how are we to find a remedy? The Financial Reform Associations—which are nothing else than the bastard spawn of the Anti-Corn-law League—are perfectly ready with their answer. They see no difficulty about it at all. "Act," they say, "upon the same principle which every man adopts in private life. Since your income has fallen off, reduce your expenditure. Cut your coat according to your cloth. Find out what are the most expensive items of your estimates, and demolish these. If you can't afford to have an army, don't keep one. Your navy is anything but a source of income; put it down. In this [360] way you will presently find that you can make out a satisfactory balance-sheet."

This is the pounds, shillings, and pence view of the case, and its supporters are determined to enforce it. Dull statistical pamphlets, inveighing against the enormous expense of our establishments, are compiled by pompous pseudo-economists, and circulated by the million. Looking to the past, it requires no familiarity to predict, that, as sure as winter follows autumn, so certainly will the Whigs yield to the pressure from without. Nay, it is not a prediction; for already, in the Queen's speech, an intimation to that effect has been given. Now this is a matter of vital moment to every one of us. We are now verging towards the point which we have long foreseen, when the effects of unprincipled legislation will be wrested into an argument against the maintenance of the national greatness. We have a battle to fight involving a more important stake than ever. We must fight that battle under circumstances of great disadvantage; for not only has treachery thinned our ranks, but the abandonment of public principle by a statesman whose hairs have grown gray in office, has given an example of laxity most pernicious to the morals of the age. But not the less readily do we go forward at the call of honour and duty, knowing that our cause is truth, and confident, even now, that truth must ultimately prevail.

In the first place, let us set ourselves right with these same Financial Reform Associations, so that no charge may be brought against us of factious opposition to salutary improvement. We have perused several of their tracts with great care; but, being tolerably familiar with their statistics already, we have not acquired any large stock of additional information. They point, however, to many things which are most undoubted abuses. That a reform is necessary in many civil departments of the state, has long been our expressed opinion. Money is not only misapplied, but the revenues which ought to be drawn from some portions of the public property, find their way into private pockets, and are not accounted for. We do not doubt that the dockyards are largely jobbed, and that the nation suffers considerable loss by a partial and nefarious system of private instead of public contracts. We are no admirers of sinecures, of unnecessary commissionerships, or the multiplication of useless offices. The department of Woods and Forests is an Augean stable, which requires a thorough cleansing. It is notoriously the most inefficient and the worst served of the public boards, and it has permitted and winked at peculation to an extent which is almost incredible. We desire to have the public accounts better kept, and some security given that the officials will do their duty. We wish to see patronage fairly and honourably exercised. We wish to see abuse corrected, curbed, and abolished.

And why is this not done? Simply for this reason—that we are cursed with a government in every way unfit for their charge. The present ruling family party have not among them a vestige of a public virtue. Jobbing with the Whigs is not an exceptional case—it is a living principle. It is more to them than the liberty of the press: it is like the air they breathe; if they have it not, they die. They keep their adherents together solely by the force of jobbing. Look at their Irish Trevellyan jobs, their commissions, their unblushing and unparalleled favouritism! Never, in any one instance, have they attempted to save a shilling of the public revenue, when, by doing so, they would interfere with the perquisites of some veteran servitor of their order. We know this pretty well in Scotland, where jobbing flourishes all the better because we are denied the superintendence of a separate Secretary of State—an office which is imperatively called for. The present is undeniably a time for the exertion of strict economy in every department, and yet ministers will not vouchsafe to commence it in their own. During the last two years, various offices which are not hereditary, which are notorious sinecures, and which are nevertheless endowed with large salaries, have become vacant; and, in every case, these have been filled up by Lord John Russell, on the broad ground that the government [361] could not afford to dispense with such valuable patronage.

So far we are at one with the finance reformers. So long as their object is to reform evident abuses, we are ready not only to applaud, but to co-operate with them: but the correction of abuses is a very different thing from that suicidal policy which has been over and over again attempted in this country—that policy which, by saving thousands, insures the loss of millions.

Because our revenue has fallen off, is that any reason why we should part with our army and navy? Let us assume that the army and navy are necessary for three purposes—first, for the defence of the country; secondly, for the maintenance of internal order; and thirdly, for the retention of our colonies. Let us further assume, that, keeping these three necessary points in view, it is impossible to effect a numerical reduction of the force: and we then ask the economists whether, these premises being allowed, they would push their doctrine of cloth-cutting so far as still to insist upon a reduction? Not one political tailor of them all will dare to say so! They know the overwhelming storm of contempt that would arise in every corner of Great Britain, if they dared to give vent to such a traitorous sentiment; they leave it unuttered, but they aver the non-necessity.[32] Here we meet at once upon fair and open ground; and we ask, whether they mean to aver that the present force is greater than is required for the three purposes above mentioned, or whether they mean to aver that any one of these purposes is unnecessary? This, as we shall presently have occasion to see, is a very important distinction.

To the first question, as yet, we have only indefinite answers. We hear a good deal about clothing allowances and abuses, with which we have nothing whatever to do. It may be, that there exist some faults in the army and navy department, and that these could be amended with a saving of expense to the country: if so, let it be done. We cordially echo the language of Lord Stanley, on moving his amendment to the address: "I believe it is possible to effect some reductions in the civil departments of the army, ordnance, and navy. I also think that large reductions may be made by checking the abuses which exist in the administration and management of the dockyards. But the greatest security we could obtain for having the work well done in the dockyards, would be the passing of an enactment to deprive all persons in those yards from voting for members of parliament. I have heard at least twenty naval officers express an opinion that, until persons employed in the dockyards shall be prevented from voting for members of parliament, it will be impossible to exercise efficient control over the work performed in those establishments. If reductions can be effected, in God's name let them be made; and, although one may wonder how such a course has been so long delayed, I will applaud the government which shall economise without prejudice to the permanent interests of the empire. But when the country is in a position which requires that she should have all her resources and powers at hand, I cannot concur with those who, for the sake of [362] economy, would largely diminish the naval and military forces of the country."

Mr Cobden, so far as we can gather from his orations, advocates the propriety of disbanding the army on the score of peace. He thinks that, if we were to dismiss our forces, all the other nations of the earth would follow the example. There is something positively marvellous in the calm audacity of the man who can rise up, as Cobden did at Manchester, on the last day of January, and enunciate to his enraptured audience, that, "notwithstanding all that had been said on that subject, he reiterated there never was a time when Europe was so predisposed to listen to advances made by the people of England, on that subject, as now!" Where, in the name of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, has the man been during the last twelvemonths? What does Mr Cobden understand by Europe? We should like to know this, for it is very easy to use a general term, as in the present instance, without conveying any definite meaning. Does he refer to the governments or the mobs of Europe—to the well-affected, who wish for order, or to the Jacobins whose cause he adores? If he meant the latter class to signify Europe, we can understand him readily enough. He is right: great indeed would be the joy of the clubs in Paris, Berlin, and Vienna, if there were not a soldier left. What jubilee and triumph there would be in every Continental capital! Not the suppression of the police would excite deeper exultation in the hearts of the denizens of St Giles', than would the abolition of standing armies in those of the bearded patriots of the Continent. No need then of barricades—no fighting for the partition of property—no bloodshed, preparatory to the coveted rape and pillage! The man who can talk in this way is beneath the average of idiots; or, otherwise, he is somewhat worse. Not only during the last year, but within the last five months, we have seen that the whole standing armies of Europe have been employed in the task of suppressing insurrection, and have not been able to do it. Under these circumstances, what state would be "predisposed" to surrender its citizens to the tender mercies of democracy? Ignorant indeed must be the audience that could listen to such pitiable drivelling as this!

Until it can be shown or proved that our armaments, even in ordinary times, are larger than are required for the purposes of defence, of internal tranquillity, and of colonial occupation, there is no cause for reduction at all. The troops at home are maintained for the first two objects, since it would be as wise, in the time of peace, to dismantle the fortifications of a town and to spike the cannon, as to dispense with an army. Is there no necessity for the troops at home? The experience of last year alone has shown us what we might expect if Cobden's views were realised. Glasgow, the second largest city of the empire, was for a time in the hands of the mob. We doubt whether the stiffest free-trader in the West would now be disposed to renounce military protection. Have the people of Liverpool already forgotten that their shipping and warehouses were threatened with incendiarism, and that such apprehensions of a rising were entertained, that, at the earnest entreaty of the magistracy, a camp was established in their vicinity? What would be the state of Ireland, at this moment, if the troops were withdrawn, or their number so materially lessened as to give a chance of success, however momentary, to insurrection? But it is useless to ask such questions, for, in reality, there is hardly a sane man in the British islands who does not know what the immediate result would be, and the horrible penalty we should ultimately pay for such weak and culpable parsimony.

It is a very favourite topic, with finance reformers, to refer to the state of the army and navy as it existed previous to the French Revolution. "In 1792," they say, "the whole cost of these departments, including the ordnance, amounted only to five millions and a half—why should we not now reduce our expenditure to the same amount?" It is wearisome to enter into the task of explanation with these gentlemen, who, after all, are but slenderly acquainted with statistics, else they would at once divine [363] the answer: nevertheless we shall undertake it. According to the nearest approximation which can be made, the British islands, in the year 1792, contained a population of about fifteen and a half millions. The census in 1841 showed a population of twenty-seven millions, and at the present moment the number is probably not short of thirty. So that, on the reasonable principle that military establishments should bear a certain ratio to the population, and excluding every other consideration, the annual estimates ought, according to the standard of the financial reformers, to be at least eleven millions. But then, be it observed, our colonial possessions were comparatively small compared with their present extent. Since 1792, we have received accession of the following colonies and settlements:—Ceylon, Trinidad, St Lucia, Malta, Heligoland, British Guiana, the Falkland Islands, Hong-Kong, Labuan, Cape of Good Hope, Mauritius, Van Diemen's Land, Western and Southern Australia, New Zealand, and the Ionian Islands. The area of these new possessions is considerably more than six times that of the whole extent of the British islands; the surface of the new colonies being, in square miles, no less than 828,408, whilst that of Britain proper is merely 122,823. We purposely abstain from alluding to the extent and increment of our older colonies, as our object is simply to show the difference of our position now, from what it was in the year immediately preceding the outbreak of the first French Revolution.

In the mean time, however, let us keep strictly to our present point, which is the necessity of maintaining a standing army at home. Within the last fifty-seven years, the population at home has doubled—a fact which, of itself, will account for many social evils utterly beyond the reach of legislation. The enormous increase of the manufacturing towns has not been attended with any improvement in the morals of the people. The statistical returns of criminal commitments show that vice has spread in a ratio far greater than the increase of population; and along with vice has appeared its invariable concomitant, disaffection. Every period of stagnation of trade is marked by a display of Chartism: the example set by such associations as the League has not been lost upon the greater masses of the people. Ireland is a volcano in which the fires of rebellion are never wholly extinguished, and every internal movement there is sensibly felt upon this side of the Channel.

But it is needless, perhaps, to enlarge upon the point, because there are very few persons who maintain that our home force is greater than the occasion requires. That admitted, the question is very considerably narrowed. The reductions demanded would then fall to be made in that portion of our armaments which is used for colonial occupation and defence.

First, let us see what we have to occupy and defend. In 1792, the area of the British colonies which we still retain was about 565,700 square miles. Subsequent additions have extended this surface to 1,400,000. This calculation, be it remarked, is altogether exclusive of India.

The free-traders themselves do not aver that we maintain a larger force than is compatible with their magnitude for the occupation of the colonies. "I am quite aware," says Cobden, "that any great reduction in our military establishments must depend upon a complete change in our colonial system; and I consider such a change to be the necessary consequence of our recent commercial policy." We are glad at last to arrive at the truth. That one sentence contains the key to the present crusade against armaments, and it is very well that we should understand and consider it in time. Our readers must not, however, understand the word "change" in the literal sense; the following extract from the Edinburgh tract will put the matter in a clearer light. "The possession of the colonies is supposed to add lustre to the crown; but it may be doubted whether the honour is not purchased at a price considerably beyond its value. The colonies pay no taxes into the exchequer: we keep them, they do not keep us. An Englishman may be told that he belongs to an empire on which the sun never sets; but, as he pays dearly for this in taxation, [364] and gets nothing but sentiment in return, he may be inclined to question the value of that vast dominion on his connexion with which he is congratulated. But if the Englishman makes nothing by the colonial possessions, neither does the colonist. As things are managed, the union is mutually embarrassing, while the expenses we incur for maintaining the colonies are ruinous." Were we right or wrong when we said, two years ago, that the tendency of free trade was a deliberate movement towards the dismemberment of the British empire, and the separation of the colonies from the mother country? Here you have the principle almost openly avowed. The colonies are said to cost us about four millions a-year, and this opens too rich a field for the penny-wise economist to be resisted. Nor are we in the slightest degree surprised at these men availing themselves of the argument. If they are right in their premises, they are also right in their conclusion. If the people of this country are deliberately of opinion that our commercial policy is, henceforward and for ever, to be regulated upon the principles of free trade, the colonies should be left to themselves, and Earl Grey immediately cashiered. This is what Cobden and his followers are aiming at; this is the ultimate result of the measures planned, and proposed, and carried by Sir Robert Peel. It is no figment or false alarm of ours. The free-traders do not take the pains to disguise it: their main argument for the reduction of our forces is the uselessness and expense of the colonies, and they seem prepared to lower the British flag in every quarter of the globe. Our fellow-citizen who has compiled the last Financial tract speaks to the point with a calm philosophy which shows the thoroughness of his conviction: he says, "As foreigners now trade with our colonies on the same terms with ourselves, it is evident that the colonists prefer our goods, only because they are better and cheaper than those of foreigners; it therefore seems reasonable to suppose that the colonies would continue to buy from us were the connexion dissolved, or greatly changed in character. The United States of America once were our colonies, and the trade with them has vastly increased since they became independent." According to this view, it would appear that Papineau was not only a disinterested patriot, but also, an enlightened economist!

See, then, what great matters spring from petty sources!—how personal ambition, and competition for power between two statesmen of no high or exalted principle, can in a few years lead to a deliberate project, and a large confederacy, for the dismemberment of the British empire! To gain additional swiftness in the race for ascendency, Sir Robert Peel and Lord John Russell alternately threw away, most uselessly and recklessly, many of the surest items of the national income. They sacrificed, until further sacrifice was no longer possible, without conceding a broad principle. The principle was conceded; and the bastard system of free trade, without reciprocity and without equivalent, was substituted for the wiser system which had been the foundation of our greatness. By this time, indirect taxation had been reduced so low that the revenue fell below the mark of the expenditure; the duties levied upon imports exhibited a marked decline. Both Peel and Russell were committed to free trade, and neither of them could, with any consistency, retrace their steps. Russell, then in power, had no alternative except to propose additional direct burdens, by augmenting the income-tax. This proposition was rejected, and there was a dead-lock. Lord John was at his wits' end. The free-traders now propose to relieve him from his embarrassment, by cutting down the expenditure so as to meet the diminished income. This can only be done by reducing the army and navy, and the army and navy cannot be reduced except by sacrificing the colonies; therefore, say the free-traders, get rid of the colonies at once, and, the work is ready-done to your hands.

We defy any man, be he Whig, Peelite, Free-trader, or Chartist, to controvert the truth of what we have stated above. We anticipated the result from the first hour that Sir Robert Peel yielded, not to the expressed will of the nation, but to the clamour of a selfish and organised faction; and [365] every move since has been in exact concordance with our anticipations. Last year, Lord John Russell showed some spirit of resistance to the power which was dragging him downward: he refused to tamper with the army. In an article which appeared in this Magazine just twelve months ago, we said—"It is to the credit of the Whigs that, far as they have been led astray by adopting the new-fangled political doctrines—rather, as we believe, for the sake of maintaining power than from any belief in their efficacy—they have declined all participation with the Manchester crew, in their recent attempts to lower the position and diminish the influence of Great Britain." The country knows, by this time, that we cannot repeat the encomium. Last year, before there was a single disturbance abroad, before insurrection had arisen in Ireland, Lord John Russell brought forward his budget, and, with the support of the great majority of the House, not only peremptorily refused to accede to a diminution of our forces, but actually proposed an augmentation. This year, we find in the royal speech the following paragraph—"The present aspect of affairs has enabled me to make large reductions on the estimates of last year."

"The present aspect of affairs!"—Go to, then—let us see what the phrase is worth—how far the context of the whole speech will justify the choice of the expression? This is no time for shuffling or weakness—no time for party-tricks. The atmosphere is dark around us. By the help of Heaven we have stood the pelting of the storm, and yet stand unscathed; but the clouds are still black and threatening. We cannot take a vague assertion, even though it proceeded from a minister a thousand times more able and trustworthy than the present premier. We must have proofs before we loosen our cloak, and lessen the security of our position.

How stand we with regard to the Continental powers? For the first time, for many years, the British Sovereign has been unable to state "that she continues to receive from all foreign powers assurances of their friendly relations." Instead of that we are simply told, what no one doubts, that her Majesty is desirous to maintain the most friendly relations with the other members of the European family. Unfortunately, however, desire does not always imply possession. Are we to attribute this omission of the usual paragraph to mere inadvertence? or are we indeed to conclude that, abroad, there has arisen a feeling so unfriendly that to hazard the assertion of former relationship would really be equivalent to a falsehood? It is painful to allow that we must arrive at the latter conclusion. The moral weight and influence which Britain once exercised on the Continent has utterly decayed in the hands of Whig administrations. Instead of maintaining that attitude of high dignified reserve which becomes the first maritime power of Europe, we have been exhibited in the light of a nation of interfering intriguers, whose proffered mediation is almost equivalent to an insult. Mediators of this kind never are, nor can be, popular. The answer invariably is, in the language of holy writ—"Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian?" and, in consequence, wherever we have interfered we have made matters worse, or else have been compelled to submit to an ignominious rebuff. Every one knows what were the consequences of Lord Palmerston's impertinent and gratuitous suggestions to the crown of Spain. "What," said Lord Stanley, "is the state of our relations with that court? You have most unwisely, through your minister, interfered in the internal administration of the affairs of that country. That offence has been visited by the Government of that country upon our ministers in a manner so offensive that, great as was the provocation given by the British minister, no man in your Lordship's House, with the information we possess, could stand up and say that the Government of Spain was justified in the course they had pursued, however much the magnitude of the offence might have palliated it. But the state of affairs in Spain is this: Your minister has been ignominiously driven from Madrid, and you have quietly and tacitly acquiesced in the insult which [366] the Spanish Government have put upon you." The immediate consequences of Minto negotiation in Italy have been assassination and rebellion, the flight of the Pope from his dominions, and the surrender of the sacred city to the anarchy of the Club propagandists. But perhaps the worst instance of our interference is that with the Neapolitan and Sicilian affairs. We have thus chosen openly to countenance rebellion: we have gone the length of negotiating with insurgents, for securing them an independent government. We held out a threat, which we did not dare to fulfil. After menacing the King of Naples with a squadron off his own shores, apparently to prevent the expedition then prepared from setting sail for Sicily—and thereby encouraging the insurgents by the prospect of British aid—we allowed the fleet to sail, the war to begin, the city of Messina to be bombarded, and then, with a tardy humanity, we interfered to check the carnage. In consequence, we are blamed and detested by both parties. The Neapolitan Government feel that we have acted towards them in a manner wholly inconsistent with the character of an ally; that in negotiating with rebels, as we have done, we have absolutely broken faith, and violated honour; and that even our last interference was as unprincipled as our first. If the plea of humanity were to be allowed in such cases, where would be the end of interference? Durst we have said to Austria, after the reoccupation of Vienna, "You have taken your city, and may keep it, but you shall not punish the rebels. If you do, we shall interfere, to prevent the horrors of military execution"? We think that even Lord Palmerston, notwithstanding his itch for interposition, would have hesitated in doing this. Lord Lansdowne, in touching upon the subject of the Austrian and Hungarian relations, is positively conservative in his tone. According to him, the British cabinet views rebellion in a very different light, according as it appears in the centre or the south of Europe—on the banks of the Danube, or on the shores of the Mediterranean. "As regarded the administration of the internal affairs of Austria and Hungary, the British Government had not been asked to interfere, and had not desired to interfere. They contemplated, as all Europe did, with that feeling which was experienced when men were seen successfully struggling with difficulties, a contest which had led to the display of so much lofty character on the part of individuals. Had this been the place, he (the Marquis of Lansdowne) should have been as ready as the noble lord to pay his tribute of respect to individuals who had appeared in that part of the world, and had been most successful in their efforts to restore the glories of the Austrian army in her own dominions. In the negotiations between the Emperor and his subjects they had no right to interfere, neither had they been invited by either party." This is sound doctrine, we admit, but why treat Naples otherwise than Austria? Had we any right to interfere in the negotiations between the King of the Two Sicilies and his subjects? Not one tittle more than in the other case; and we beg to suggest to Lord Palmerston, whether it is creditable that this country should be considered in the light of a bully who hesitates not, in the case of a lesser power, to take liberties, which he prudently abstains from doing where one more likely to resent such unwarrantable conduct is concerned. As for the Sicilians, they feel that they have been betrayed. But for the prospect of British support, certainly warranted by our attitude, they might not have gone so far, nor drawn upon their heads the terrible retribution which overtook them. Such are the results of Palmerstonian interference, at once dangerous, despicable, and humiliating.

We have read with much attention the speech of Lord John Russell, on the first night of the Session, explanatory of the Italian transactions; and we must say that his vindication of his father-in-law is such as to inspire us with a devout hope that the noble bungler may, in future, be forced to confine his talents for intrigue to some sphere which does not involve the general tranquillity of Europe. Considering the manner in which we are mulcted for the support of the Elliots, we are fairly entitled to ask [367] the hoary chief of that marauding clan to draw his salary in peace, without undertaking the task of fomenting civil discord between our allied powers and their subjects. But even more important is the sort of admission pervading the address of the Premier, that our interference in the Sicilian business was regulated by the views entertained by the French admiral. Sir W. Parker, it seems, did not take the initiative; it was not his finer sense of humanity which was offended; for, according to Lord John, "when that expedition reached Messina, there took place, at the close of the siege of Messina, events which appeared so horrible and so inhuman in the eyes of the French admiral that he determined to interfere. It appeared to the French admiral, that it was impossible such a warfare could continue without an utter desolation of Sicily, and such alienation from the Neapolitan Government, on the part of the Sicilians, that no final terms of agreement could arise; he therefore determined to take upon himself to put a stop to the further progress of such a horrible warfare. After he had so determined, he communicated with Sir W. Parker. Sir W. Parker had a most difficult duty to perform; but, taking all the circumstances into consideration, our former friendly relations with the Sicilians—the accounts he had received from the captain of one of her Majesty's ships then at Messina—the atrocities he heard of, and that the French admiral was about to act—and that it was important at that juncture that the two nations should act in concert, his determination was to give orders similar to those which had been given by the French admiral." Now, although we are fully alive to the advantage of maintaining the best possible understanding with the fluctuating French governments, and exceedingly anxious that no untoward cause for jealousy should arise, we do not think that Lord John's explanation will be felt as satisfactory by the country. It appears by this statement, that, had there been no French fleet there, Sir W. Parker would not have thought himself entitled to interfere. It is because the French admiral was about to move that he thought fit to move likewise. If there was any honour in the transaction, we have forfeited all claim to it by this avowal. If, on the contrary, there was any wrong done, we excuse it only by the undignified plea, that we were following the example of France. This is a new position for Britain to assume—not, in our eyes, one which is likely to raise us in Continental estimation, or to support the prestige of our maritime supremacy. To quarrel with our allies is at all times folly; to vindicate interference on the ground of maintaining a good understanding with another power, is scarce consonant with principle, and betrays a conscious weakness on the part of those who have no better argument to advance.

See, then, how we are situated with the foreign powers. Spain is alienated from us—Austria not fervid in her love, for there too, it would seem, we have most unnecessarily interfered. We are detested in Naples and Sicily, unpopular elsewhere in Italy, mixed up with the Schleswig dispute, and on no diplomatic terms with Central Germany. Our understanding with France has fortunately remained amicable, but we neither know the policy of France, nor can we foresee under what circumstances she may be placed in a month from the present time. Is this a peaceful prospect? Let us hear Lord John Russell, whose interest it is to make things appear in as favourable a light as possible:—"I do not contend that there is not cause for anxiety in the present state of Europe. I am far from thinking that the revolutions which took place last year have run their course, and that every nation in which they occurred can now be said to be in a state of solid security. I rejoice as much as any man that the ancient empire of Austria, our old ally, is recovering her splendour, and is showing her strength in such a conspicuous manner. Still I cannot forget that there are many questions not yet settled with regard to the internal institutions of Austria—that the question of the formation of what the honourable gentleman (Mr D'Israeli) has called an empire without an emperor, is still in debate, and that we cannot be sure what the ultimate result of these events may be. It is also true that there may have been, during last year, [368] an excess of apprehension, caused by the great events that were taking place, and by the rising up of some wild theories, pretending to found the happiness of the state and of mankind on visionary and unsound speculations, on which the happiness of no people or country can ever be founded. We have seen these opinions prevail in many countries to a considerable extent; and no one can say that events may not, at some unforeseen moment, take an unfortunate turn for the peace and tranquillity of Europe." These are sensible views, moderately but fairly stated; and we ask nothing more than that his lordship's measures should be framed in accordance with a belief which is not only his, but is entertained by every man of ordinary capacity throughout the country. Experience has shown us that war is almost invariably preceded by revolution. These are not days in which potentates can assemble their armies, march across their frontiers without palpable cause of offence, and seize upon the territory of their neighbours. But for the spirit of innovation, restlessness, and lust of change, never more generally exhibited than now amongst the people, the world would remain at peace. It is only when, as in the case of Germany and Italy, the sceptre is wrenched from the hands of the constitutional authorities, and when the rule of demagogues and experimentalists commences, that the danger of war begins. At such a time, there are no settled principles of polity or of action. Crude theories are produced, and, for a time, perhaps, acted upon as though they were sound realities. Men adopt vague and general terms as their watchwords, and strive to shape out constitutions to be reared upon these utterly unsubstantial foundations. Laws are changed, and the executive loses its power. All is anarchy and confusion, until, by common consent of those who still retain some portion of their senses, military despotism is called in to strangle the new-born license. This is a state of matters which usually results in war. The dominant authorities feel that their hold of public opinion is most precarious, unless they can contrive to give that opinion an impulse in another direction, and, at the same time, to employ, in some way or other, those multitudes whom revolution has driven from the arts and occupations of peace, and who, unless so provided for, immediately degenerate into conspirators at home. War is sometimes resorted to as the means of avoiding revolution. The disturbed state of the north of Italy furnished Charles Albert with a pretext for marching his army on Milan, as much, we believe, on account of the revolutionary spirit rife within his own dominions, as from any decided hope of territorial aggrandisement. This was the policy of Napoleon, who perfectly understood the character of the people he had to deal with, and who acted on the thorough conviction that war was the necessary consequence of revolution. We do not say that, in the present instances, such calamitous results are inevitable—we have hope that France may this time achieve a permanent constitution without having recourse to aggression. At the same time, it would be folly to shut our eyes to the fact that, throughout a great part of Europe, the old boundaries have been grievously disturbed; and that the modern system of intervention has a decided tendency to provoke war, at periods when the popular mind is raised to a pitch of extraordinary violence, and when the passions are so keenly excited as to disregard the appeals of reason.

These considerations are not only directed towards the course of our foreign policy; they are of vast moment in judging of the expediency of reducing our forces at this particular time. Last year, with NO revolutions abroad, the Whigs not only refused to lessen the amount of our standing army, but increased it. This year, when the Continent is still in a state of insurrection, and when war is pending in different parts of Europe—when, moreover, an Indian contest, more serious in its aspect than any other which we have recently seen, has commenced—they propose to begin the work of reduction. Her Majesty is made to say,—"The present aspect of affairs has enabled me to make large reductions on the estimates of last year!"[369]

We never have suspected Lord John Russell of possessing much accomplishment in the art of logic; but, really, in the present instance, he has the merit of inventing a new system. According to his own showing, according to his recorded admissions, his doctrine is this: In time of peace, when there is no occasion for armaments, increase them; in time of threatened war and actual disturbance, when there may be every occasion for them, let them be reduced. Yet perhaps we are wrong: Sir Robert Peel may possibly be admitted as the author of this vast discovery—in which case, Lord John can merely rank as a distinguished pupil. The astute baronet, in his zeal for commercial convulsions, has taught us to expand our currency when there is no money-famine, and to contract it in the case of exigency. Whether Californian facts may not hereafter get the better of Tamworth theories, we shall not at the present moment stop to inquire. In the mean time let us confine our attention to the proposed reductions.

We are therefore compelled—reluctantly, for we had hoped better things from men styling themselves British statesmen—to adopt the view of Lord Stanley, in his powerful and masterly estimate of the policy of the present Government. "In the face of all this," said the noble lord, after recapitulating the posture of affairs at home and abroad, "ministers have had the confidence to place in the mouth of their sovereign the astounding declaration, that the aspect of affairs is such as to enable them to effect large reductions in the estimates. I venture to state, openly and fearlessly, that it is not the aspect of affairs abroad or in Ireland, but the aspect of affairs in another place, which has induced the government to make reductions. I believe that they have no alternative but to do as they are ordered." Here, then, is the first yielding to the new movement—the first step taken, at the bidding of the Leaguers, towards a policy which has for its avowed end the abandonment of the colonies! The question naturally arises—where is to be the end of these concessions? Are we in reality ruled by a Manchester faction, or by a body of men of free and independent opinions, who hold their commissions from the Queen, and who are sworn to uphold the interests and dignity of their mistress and of the realm? Let us see who compose that faction, what are their principles, what are their interests, and what means they employ to work out the ends which they propose. The splendid speech of Mr D'Israeli, in moving his amendment to the address—a speech which we hesitate not to say is superior to any of his former efforts, and which displays an ability at the present time unequalled in the House of Commons—a speech not more eloquent than true, not more glowing in its rhetoric than clear and conclusive in its logical deductions—has told with withering effect upon the new democratic faction, and has exposed the ministry which bows before it to the contumely of the nation at large. "I am told," said the honourable member, "that England must be contented with a lesser demonstration of brute force. I am not prepared to contradict that doctrine; but I should like to have a clear definition of what brute force is. In my opinion, a highly disciplined army, employed in a great performance—that of the defence of the country, the maintenance of order, the vindication of a nation's honour, or the consolidation of national wealth and greatness—that a body of men thus disciplined, influenced and led by some of the most eminent generals—by an Alexander, a Cæsar, or a Wellesley—is one in which moral force is as much entered into as physical. But if, for instance, I find a man possessing a certain facility of speech, happily adapted to his cause, addressing a great body of his fellow-men in inflammatory appeals to their passions, and stirring them up against the institutions of the country, that is what I call brute force—which I think the country would be very well content to do without, and which, if there be any sense or spirit left in men, or any men of right feeling in the country, they will resolve to put down as an intolerable and ignominious tyranny! I have often observed that the hangers-on of the new system are highly fond of questioning [370] the apothegm of a great Swedish minister, who said, 'With how little wisdom a nation may be governed!' My observations for the last few years have led me to the conclusion, not exactly similar, but analogous to that remark; and if ever I should be blessed with offspring, instead of using the words of the Swedish statesman, I would rather address my son in this way, 'My son, see with how much ignorance you can agitate a nation!' Yes! but the Queen's Ministers are truckling to these men! That is the position of affairs. Her Majesty's Ministers have yielded to public opinion. Public opinion on the Continent has turned out to be the voice of secret societies; and public opinion in England is the voice and clamour of organised clubs. Her Majesty's Ministers have yielded to public opinion as a tradesman does who is detected in an act of overcharge—he yields to public opinion when he takes a less sum. So the financial affairs of this country are to be arranged, not upon principles of high policy, or from any imperial considerations, but because there is an unholy pressure from a minority which demands it, and who have a confidence of success because they know that they have already beaten two Prime Ministers." No one who has perused the report of the proceedings at the late free-trade dinner at Manchester can have failed to remark that the League is still alive and active. It was not for mere purposes of jubilation, for the sake of congratulating each other on the accomplishment of their old object, that these men assembled. Exultation there was indeed, and some not over-prudent disclosures as to the nature and extent of the machinery which they had employed, and the agencies they had used to excite one class of the community against the other; their inveterate hatred towards the aristocracy and landed gentry of Great Britain was shown in the diatribes of almost every one of the commercial orators. "We cannot," says The Times, "but regret that in those portions of the Manchester speeches which refer to their corn-law achievements, the minds of the speakers appear still imbittered with class hatred, and feelings of misplaced animosity towards their fellow-countrymen." "As a people," quoth Friend John Bright, "we have found out we have some power. We have discovered we were not born with saddles on our backs, and country gentlemen with spurs." Ulterior objects are not only hinted at, but clearly and broadly propounded. The population of the towns is again to be pitted against that of the counties, and the counties, if possible, to be swamped by an inundation of urban voters. The banquet of Wednesday was followed by the financial meeting of Thursday. George Wilson, the ancient president of the Anti-Corn-Law League, occupied the chair. Bright and Cobden, the Bitias and Pandarus of the cotton-spinners, moved the first of a series of resolutions: and an association was formed, "for maintaining an efficient care over the registration of electors in boroughs and counties, and to promote the increase of the county electors by the extension of the forty-shilling freehold franchise." It was further agreed "that the association should co-operate with similar associations throughout the country, and that parties subscribing £10 annually shall be members of the council, together with such persons, being members of the association, as shall be elected by any vote of the council." We hope that these announcements will open the eyes of those who thought that by yielding to the former agitation they were adopting the best means of bringing it to a close. Agitation never is so quieted. The experiment has been made in Ireland until further yielding was impossible; and so will it be in Britain, if a higher, a bolder, and a more steadfast line of policy should not be adopted by future governments. From the present Cabinet we expect nothing. Their invariable course is to yield; for they neither have the ability to devise measures for themselves, nor the public virtue to resist unconstitutional encroachments. For where is the constitution of this country, if we are to be practically governed by Leagues, by huge clubs with their ramifications extending, as in France, throughout every town of the empire, and secretly worked according to the will of an inscrutable and unscrupulous council? Public opinion, as we understood [371] the phrase in Britain, manifested itself in Parliament; now, we are told, that it is something else—that it is the voice of clubs and assemblies without. Very well, and very powerfully did Mr D'Israeli allude to this system of organisation in the close of his animated speech:—

"I have noticed the crude and hostile speculations that are afloat, especially respecting financial reform, not only because I consider them to be very dangerous to the country; not only because, according to rumour, they have converted the Government; but because, avowedly on the part of their promulgators, they are only tending to ultimate efforts. This I must say of the new revolutionary movement, that its proceedings are characterised by frank audacity. They have already menaced the church, and they have scarcely spared the throne. They have denounced the constitutional estates of the realm as antiquated and cumbrous machinery, not adapted to the present day. No doubt, for the expedition of business, the Financial Reform Association presents greater facilities than the House of Commons. It is true that it may be long before there are any of those collisions of argument and intellect among them which we have here; they have no discussions and no doubts; but still I see no part of the go-a-head system which is likely to supersede the sagacity and matured wisdom of English institutions; and so long as the English legislature is the chosen temple of free discussion, I have no fear, whatever party may be in power, that the people of England will be in favour of the new societies. I know very well the difficulties which we have to encounter—the dangers which illumine the distance. The honourable gentleman, who is the chief originator of this movement, made a true observation when he frankly and freely said, that the best chance for the new revolution lay in the dislocation of parties in this House. I told you that, when I ventured to address some observations to the house almost in the last hour of the last session. I saw the difficulty which such a state of things would inevitably produce. But let us not despair; we have a duty to perform, and, notwithstanding all that has occurred, we have still the inspiration of a great cause. We stand here to uphold not only the throne, but the empire; to vindicate the industrial privileges of the working classes; to reconstruct the colonial system; to uphold the church, no longer assailed by appropriation clauses, but by vizored foes; and to maintain the majesty of parliament against the Jacobin manœuvres of Lancashire. This is a stake not lightly to be lost. At any rate, I would sooner my tongue were palsied before I counselled the people of England to lower their tone. Yes, I would sooner quit this House for ever than I would say to the people of England that they overrated their position. I leave that delicate intimation to the fervid patriotism of the gentlemen of the new school. For my part, I denounce their politics, and I defy their predictions; but I do so because I have faith in the people of England, their genius, and their destiny!"

Our views therefore are simply these—that while it is the duty of government to enforce and practise economy in every department of the public service, they are not entitled, upon any consideration whatever, to palter with the public safety. We cannot, until the estimates are brought forward, pronounce any judgment upon the merits of the proposed reductions—we cannot tell whether these are to be numerical, or effected on another principle. Needless expenditure we deprecate as strongly as the most sturdy adherent of the League, and we expect and hope that in several departments there will be a saving, not because that has been clamoured for, but because the works which occasioned the outlay have been completed. For example, the introduction of steam vessels into our navy has cost a large sum, which may not be required in future. But to assign, as ministers have done, the position of affairs abroad as a reason for reducing our armaments, is utterly preposterous. It is a miserable pretext to cover their contemptible truckling, and we are perfectly sure that it will be appreciated throughout the country at its proper value. It remains to be seen whether these estimates can be reduced so low as to meet the expenditure of the country. Our own opinion is, that they cannot, without impairing the efficiency of either branch of the service; and we hardly think that ministers will venture to go so far.

Let us, at all events, hope that Lord John Russell and his colleagues are not so lost to the sense of their duty, as to make the sweeping reduction which the Manchester politicians demand—that they will not consent to renounce the colonies, or to leave them [372] destitute of defence. Still the question remains—how are we to raise our revenue? To this point we perpetually recur, for it is in this that the real difficulty lies. What says her Majesty's Government to this? The answer is quite short—Nothing. They have no scheme, so far as we are given to understand. They cannot go back upon indirect taxation; the country will not stand any increase of the direct burdens. The old rule was, out of two evils choose the least: the new rule seems to be, choose neither the one nor the other, but let matters go on as they best can. We have that confidence in the good sense of the country, that we cannot believe that this laissez faire system will be much longer tolerated. The family party, as the interwoven clique of Russells, Mintos, Greys, and Woods, has not unaptly been designated, was not placed in power merely to enjoy the sweets of office, or to provide for their numerous kindred; they must either grapple with the pressing difficulties of the state, or surrender their places to others who are more confident and capable.

Confidence is not wanting in certain quarters, though capability may be a matter of more dubiety. Mr M'Gregor, M.P. for Glasgow, and concocter of the famous free-trade tables, is ready at a moment's notice to produce a new financial scheme, founded upon unerring data, and promising a large increase of the revenue. Cobden has another scheme on the irons with the same view, benevolently proposing to lay the land of Great Britain under further contribution. We believe that, after the experience of the past, few people will be likely to accept either budget without considerable hesitation. Both gentlemen have committed a slight mistake in imitating Joseph's interpretation of the dream of Pharaoh; they should have inversed the order, and given the years of famine the precedence of the years of plenty.

The truth is, that it is a very simple matter to take off existing taxes, but marvellously difficult to impose new ones. Granting that a certain sum is required for the annual engagements and expenditure of the country, no wise statesman would abolish any source of revenue, without, at the same time, introducing another equivalent. Our error has been abolition without any equivalent at all. It is all very well to say, that by reducing import duties upon particular articles you stimulate the power of production: that stimulus may be given—individuals may in consequence be enriched—and yet still there is a defalcation of revenue. This, however, is the best case which can be pointed out for the reduction of duties, and can only apply, in any degree, to imports of raw material. The greater part of Sir Robert Peel's tariff is founded upon a principle directly opposite to this. He removed import duties from articles which, so far from stimulating the power of production at home, absolutely crushed that power, by bringing in foreign to supersede British labour. Thus, in both cases, there was a sacrifice. In the one there was, at all events, a direct sacrifice of revenue; in the other, a sacrifice of revenue, and a sacrifice of labour also. The imposition (and the word is appropriate either in its plain or its metaphorical meaning) of the property and income tax, which gave Sir Robert Peel the power of making his commercial experiments, proved inadequate to replace the deficit. The promised gain was as visionary as the dividends on certain railway lines projected about the same period, and no new source of national income has been opened to supply the loss.

Lord Brougham, no bad judge of human nature, observed the other night, that "such was the extent of the self-conceit of mankind, such the nature and amount of human frailty, that it became no easy matter to induce a nation to retrace its steps." People are ever loath to accept as facts the most pregnant evidences of their own deliberate folly. Perfectly aware of this metaphysical tendency, we are not surprised that, for the last two or three years, every remonstrance against the dangers of precipitate commercial legislation should have been treated with scorn, both by the older advocates of the abolition system, and by the younger disciples who were converted in a body along with their master. They have been [373] kind enough, over and over again, to entreat us to relinquish our defence of what they called an antiquated and worn-out theory. Their supplications on this score have been so continuous as to become absolutely painful; nor could we well understand why and wherefore they should be so very solicitous for our silence. Our worst enemies cannot accuse us of advocating any dangerous innovations: our preachment may be tedious, but, at all events, we do not take the field at the head of an organised association. Neither can we be blamed for solitary restiveness, for we do not stand alone in the utterance of such opinions. The public press of this country has nobly fought the battle. We have had to cope with dexterous and skilled opponents; but never, upon any public question, has a great cause been maintained more unflinchingly, more disinterestedly, and more ably, than that of the true Conservative party by the free Conservative press. We are now glad to see that our denunciations of the new system have not been altogether without their effect. The temporary failure of free trade has been conceded even by its advocates; but we are referred to accidental causes for that failure, and the entreaty now is, to give the system a longer trial. We have no manner of objection to this, provided we are not asked to submit to any further experiments. We desire nothing better than that the people of Great Britain, be they agriculturists, or be they tradesmen, should have the opportunity of testing by experience the blessings of the free-trade system. The first class, indeed, do not require any probationary period of low prices to strengthen their conviction of the fallacy of the anti-reciprocity system, or of the iniquity of the arrangement which compels them to support the enormous amount of pauperism engendered by the over amount of population, systematically encouraged by the manufacturers. "The manufacturers," said Lord Brougham, "do not, perhaps, tell the world that they manufacture other things besides cotton twist; but every one who knew anything of them, knew that they manufactured paupers. Where the land produced one pauper, manufacturers created half-a-dozen." Still we can hardly expect to be thoroughly emancipated from the effects of the great delusion, until men of every sort and quality are practically convinced that their interests have been sacrificed to the selfish objects of a base and sordid confederation. We have no wish to hark back without occasion, or prematurely, to the corn laws: but, at the same time, we are not of the number of those who think that subsequent events have justified the wisdom of the measure. If the loyalty of the people of Great Britain did really rest upon so very narrow a point, that, even amidst the rocking and crashing of thrones and constitutions upon the Continent, ours would have been endangered by the maintenance of the former law, we should still have reason to despair of the ultimate destinies of the country. Are we to understand that, in such a case, the Jacobin faction would have had recourse to arms—that the Manchester League would have preached rebellion, or excited its adherents to insurrection? If not this, where would have been the danger? Never was any question agitated in which the mass of the operatives took less interest than in the repeal of the corn laws. They knew well that no benefit was thereby intended to be conferred upon them—that no philanthropic motives contributed to the erection of the bazaars—that the millions of popular tracts were poured forth from no cornucopia of popular plenty. The very fact, that the hard and griping men of calico were so liberal with their subscriptions to promote an agrarian change, was sufficient of itself to create a strong suspicion in their minds; for when was the purse of the taskmaster ever produced, save from a motive of selfish interest? We will not do the masses of the British population the foul injustice to believe that, under any circumstances, they would have emulated the frantic example of the French. Cobden has not yet the power of his friend and correspondent Cremieux: he is a wordy patriot, but nothing more; and, even had he been inclined for mischief, we do not believe that, beyond the immediate pale of his confederates, any considerable portion of the nation [374] would readily have rallied round the standard of such a Gracchus, even though the tricolor stripes had been displayed on a field of the choicest calico.

"The corn law is a settled question!" so shout the free-traders daily, in high wrath and dudgeon if any one even ventures to allude to agricultural distress. We grant the fact. It is a settled question, like every other which has been decided by the legislature, and it must remain a settled question until the legislature chooses to reopen it. We do not expect any such consummation for a long time. We agree perfectly with the other party, that it is folly to continue skirmishing after the battle is over, and we do not propose to adopt any such tactics. We are content to wait until the experiment is developed, to see how the system works, and to accept it if it works well; but not on that account shall we less oppose the free-traders when they advance to further innovations. The repeal of the corn laws was not the whole, but a mere branch of the free-trade policy. It was undoubtedly the branch more calculated than any other to depress the agricultural interest, but the trial of it has been postponed longer than the free-traders expected. They shall have the benefit of that circumstance; nor shall we say one word out of season upon the subject. But perhaps, referring again to the Queen's speech, and selecting this time for our text those paragraphs which stated that "commerce is reviving," and that "the condition of the manufacturing districts is likewise more encouraging than it has been for a considerable period," we may be allowed to offer a few observations.

We do not exactly understand what her Majesty's ministers mean by the revival of commerce. This is a general statement which it is very easy to make, and proportionally difficult to deny. If they mean that our exports during the last half year have increased, we can understand them, and very glad indeed we are to learn that such is the case. For although we have seen of late some elaborate arguments, tending, if they have any meaning at all, to show that our imports and not our exports should be taken as the true measure of the national prosperity, we have that faith in the simple rules of arithmetic which forbids us from adopting such reasoning. But our gladness at receiving such a cheering sentiment from the highest possible authority is a good deal damped by the result of the investigations which we have thought it our duty to make. We have gone over the tables minutely, and we find that the exports of the great staples of our industry—cotton, woollen, silk, linen, hardware, and earthenware—were of less value than those of 1847 by FOUR MILLIONS AND A HALF, and less than those of 1846 by a sum exceeding FIVE MILLIONS AND A HALF. With such a fact before us, can it be wondered at if we are cautious of receiving such unqualified statements, and exceedingly doubtful of the good faith of the men who make them?

But, perhaps, this is not the sense in which ministers understand commerce. They are entitled to congratulate the country upon one sort of improvement, which certainly was not owing to any efforts upon their part. We have at last emerged from the monetary crisis, induced by the unhappy operation of the Banking Restriction Act, and, in this way, commerce certainly has improved. The fact that such a change in the distribution of the precious metals should have taken place whilst our exports were steadily declining, is very instructive, because it clearly demonstrates the false and artificial nature of our present monetary system. The consequences, however, may be serious, as the price of the British funds cannot now be taken as an index of the prosperity of the country, either in its agricultural or its manufacturing capacity, but has merely relation to the possession of a certain quantity of bullion. The rise of the funds, therefore, does not impress us with any confidence that there has been a healthy revival in the commerce of the country. We cannot consider the question of commerce apart from the condition of the manufacturing districts; and it is to that quarter we must look, in order to test the value of the free-trade experiments.

We have already noticed the enormous [375] decrease, during the last three years, in the annual amount of our exports. This, coupled with the immense increase of imported articles of foreign manufacture, proves very clearly that the British manufacturer has as yet derived no benefit from the free-trade measures. We do not, of course, mean to say that free trade has had any tendency to lessen our exports, though to cripple the colonies is certainly not the way to augment their capabilities of consumption. We merely point to the fact of the continued decrease, even in the staples of British industry, as a proof of the utter fruitlessness of the attempt to take the markets of the world by storm. We are told, indeed, of exceptional causes which have interfered with the experiment; but these causes, even allowing them their fullest possible operation, are in no way commensurate with the results. For be it remarked, that the free-trade measures contemplated this result,—that increased imports were to be compensated by an enormous augmentation of exports: in other words, that we were to meet with perfect reciprocity from every foreign nation. Now, admitting that exceptional causes existed to check and restrain this augmentation, can we magnify these to such an extent as to explain the phenomenon of a steady and determined fall in our staple exports, and that long before the occurrence of civil war or insurrection on the continent of Europe? The explanation is just this,—the exports fell because the markets abroad were glutted, and because no state is disposed to imitate the suicidal example of Britain, or to sacrifice its own rising industry for the sake of encouraging foreigners. What inducement, it may be asked, has any state in the world to follow in our wake? Let us take for example Germany, to whose markets we send annually about six millions and a half of manufactures. Germany has considerable manufactures of her own, which give employment to a large portion of the population. Would it be wise in the Germans, for the sake of reducing the price either of linen, cotton, or woollen goods by an infinitesimal degree, to throw all these people idle, and to paralyse labour in every department, whenever they could be undersold by a foreign artisan? Undoubtedly not. Germany has nothing whatever to gain by pursuing such a course. The British market is open to her, but she does not on that account relax her right of laying duties upon imports from Britain. She shelters herself against our competition in her home market, augments her revenue thereby, and avails herself to the very utmost of our reduced tariffs, to compete in our country with the artisans of Sheffield and Birmingham. Every new return convinces us more and more that commercial interchange is the proper subject of international treaty; but that no nation whatever, and certainly not one so heavily burdened as ours, can hope for prosperity if it opens its ports without the distinct assurance of reciprocity.

Let us try distinctly to ascertain the real amount of improvement visible in the manufacturing districts. In order to do this, we must turn to the last official tables, which bring down the trade accounts from 5th January to 5th December 1848, being a period of eleven months. We find the following ominous result in the comparison with the same period in former years:—

Exports of British Produce and Manufactures from the United Kingdom.

  1846. 1847. 1848.
Total, £47,579,413 £47,345,354 £42,158,194

Five millions, two hundred thousand pounds of decreased exports in eleven months!—and the manufacturing districts are improving!

Let us see the ratio of decline on some of the principal articles which are the product of these districts. We shall therefore omit such entries as those of butter, candles, cheese, fish, soap, salt, &c., and look to the staples only. The following results we hardly think will bear out the somewhat over-confident declaration of the ministry:[376]

Export of Principal Manufactures from the United Kingdom.

  1846. 1847. 1848.
Cotton manufactures, £16,276,465 £16,082,313 £15,050,579
Do. yarn, 7,520,578 5,547,943 5,443,800
Linen manufactures, 2,553,658 2,690,536 2,475,224
Do. yarn, 797,640 615,550 440,118
Silk manufactures, 768,888 912,842 520,427
Woollen yarn, 858,953 941,158 712,035
Do. manufactures, 5,852,056  6,424,503 5,198,059
Earthenware, 742,295 773,786 651,184
Hardwares and cutlery, 2,004,127 2,138,091 1,669,146
Glass, 241,759 272,411 216,464
Leather, 307,336 327,715 244,663
Machinery, 1,050,205 1,186,921 779,759
  £38,973,920  £37,913,769 £33,401,758

Looking at these tables, we fairly confess that we can see no ground for exultation whatever; on the contrary, there is in every article a marked and steady decline. Some of the free-trade journals assert that, although in the earlier part of the last year there certainly was a marked falling off in our exports, yet that the later months have almost redeemed the deficiency. That statement is utterly false and unfounded. In September last, we showed that the exports of the first seven commodities in the above table, exhibited a decline of £3,177,370, for the six earlier months of the year, as compared with the exports in 1847. We continue the account of the same commodities for eleven months, and we find the deficiency rated at £3,370,603; so that we still have been going down hill, only not quite at so precipitate a rate as before. Free-trade, therefore—for which we sacrificed our revenue, submitted to an income-tax, and ruined our West India colonies—has utterly failed to stimulate our exports, the end which it deliberately proposed.

The diminution of exports implies of course a corresponding diminution of labour. This is a great evil, but one which is beyond the remedy of the statesman. You cannot force exports—you cannot compel the foreign nations to take your goods. We beg attention to the following extract from the speech of Mr D'Israeli, which puts the matter of export upon its true and substantial basis:—

"Look at your condition with reference to the Brazils. Every one recollects the glowing accounts of the late Vice-president of the Board of Trade with respect to the Brazilian trade—that trade for which you sacrificed your own colonies. There is an increase in the trade with the Brazils of 26,500,000 of yards in 1846 over 1845; and 18,500,000 yards in 1847 over 1845; and this increase has so completely glutted that market, that goods are selling at Rio and Bahia at cost price. It is stated in the Mercantile Journal, that 'It is truly alarming to think what may be the result of a continuance of imports, not only in the face of a very limited inquiry, but at a period of the year when trade is almost always at a stand. Why cargo after cargo of goods should be sent hither, is an enigma we cannot solve. Some few vessels have yet to arrive; and although trade may probably revive in the beginning of 1849, what will become of the goods received and to be received? This market cannot consume them. Stores, warehouses, and the customhouse are full to repletion; and if imports continue upon the same scale as heretofore, and sales have to be forced, we may yet have to witness the phenomenon of all descriptions of piece goods being purchased here below the prime cost in the country of production!' Such is the state of matters in these markets; and I do not see that your position in Europe is better. Russia is still hermetically sealed, and Prussia is not yet stricken. I know that there are some who, at this moment, think that it is a matter of no consequence how much we may export; who say that foreigners will not give their productions for nothing, and that, therefore, we must just manage things in the most favourable way we can for ourselves. There is no doubt that foreigners will not give us their goods without some exchange for them; but the question which the people of this country are looking at is, to know exactly what are the terms of exchange which it is beneficial for us to adopt. That is the whole question. You may glut markets, as I have shown you have succeeded in doing; but the only effect of your system, of your attempting to struggle against [377] those hostile tariffs, by opening your ports, is that you exchange more of your labour every year and every month for a less quantity of foreign labour; that you render British labour or native industry less efficient; that you degrade British labour—necessarily diminish profits, and, therefore, must lower wages; while the first philosophers have shown that you will finally effect a change in the distribution of the precious metals that must be pernicious to this country. It is for these reasons that all practical men are impressed with the conviction that you should adopt reciprocity as a principle of your commercial tariff—not merely from its practical importance, but as an abstract truth. This was the principle of the negotiations at Utrecht, which was copied by Mr Pitt in his commercial negotiations at Paris, which formed the groundwork of the instructions to Mr Eden, and which was wisely adopted and upheld by the cabinet of Lord Liverpool; but which was deserted, flagrantly, and openly, and unwisely, in 1846. There is another reason why you can no longer defend your commercial system—you can no longer delay considering the state of your colonies. This is called an age of principles, and no longer of political expedients—you yourselves are the disciples of economy; and you have, on every occasion, enunciated it as a principle that the colonies of England were an integral part of this country. You ought, then, to act towards your colonies on the principle you have adopted, but which you have never practised. The principle of reciprocity is, in fact, the only principle on which you can reconstruct your commercial system in a manner beneficial to the mother country and advantageous to the colonies. It is, indeed, a great principle, the only principle on which a large and expansive system of commerce can be founded, so as to be beneficial. The system you are pursuing is one quite contrary—you go fighting hostile tariffs with fixed imports; and the consequence is that you are following a course most injurious to the commerce of the country. And every year, at the commencement of the session, you come, not to congratulate the House or the country on the state of our commerce, but to explain why it suffered, why it was prostrate; and you are happy on this occasion to be able to say that it is recovering—from what? From unparalleled distress."

The labour market in this country, so far from improving, is, we have every reason to believe, in a pitiable state. Let us take the one instance of silk manufactures. Of these we exported, during eleven months of last year, an amount to the value of £912,842; this year we have only sent out £520,427, or nearly £400,000 less. But this decline does not by any means express the amount of the curtailment of labour in this important branch of industry. The home market has been inundated with foreign silks, introduced under the tariffs of 1846, and that to a degree which is wholly without precedent. Let us see the comparative amount of importations.

  1846.   1847.   1848.
Silk or satin broad stuffs, 115,292 lbs. 147,656 lbs. 269,637 lbs.
Silk ribbons, 180,375 " 182,978 " 217,243 "
Gauze or crape broad stuffs, 6,536 " 5,588 " 8,243 "
Gauze ribbons, 31,307 " 41,825 " 49,460 "
Gauze mixed, 18 " 8 " 39 "
Mixed ribbons, 1,842 " 3,094 " 2,466 "
Velvet broad stuffs, 26,798 " 27,494 " 29,669 "
Velvet embossed ribbons, 13,550 " 14,192 " 41,461 "
  375,718 lbs. 422,835 lbs. 618,218 lbs.

Is there any commentary required on these figures? We should hope that no one can be dull enough to misapprehend their import. In one year our exportation of silk goods has fallen to little more than a half: in two years our importations from the Continent have nearly doubled. Where ninety British labourers worked for the exporting trade, only fifty are now employed; and if we suppose that the consumpt of silk manufactures in this country is the same in 1848 as in 1846, the further amount of labour which has been sacrificed, by the increased importations, must be something positively enormous. It is in this way that free trade beggars the people and fills the workhouses; whilst, at the same time, it brings down the national revenue to such an ebb, that it is utterly insufficient to balance the necessary expenditure. It would be well if politicians would constantly keep in view this one great truth—That of all the burdens which can be laid upon a people, [378] the heaviest is the want of employment. No general cheapness, no class accumulations of wealth, can make up for this terrible want; and the statesman who deliberately refuses to recognise this principle, and who, from any motive, deprives the working man of his privilege, is an enemy to the interests of his country.

We cannot, and we do not, expect that men who have committed themselves so deeply as Mr Cobden has done to the principles of free trade in all its branches, should, under any development of circumstances, be brought to acknowledge their error. No evidence however overwhelming, no ruin however widely spread, could shake their faith, or at any rate diminish the obstinacy of their professions. They would rather sacrifice, as indeed they seem bent on doing, the best interests of the British empire, than acknowledge the extent of their error. Their motto avowedly is, vestigia nulla retrorsum. No sooner is one interest pulled down than they make a rapid and determined assault upon another, utterly reckless of the misery which they have occasioned, and hopelessly deaf even to the warnings of experience. They are true destructives; because they feel that they dare not pause in their career of violence, lest men should have leisure, to contemplate the ruin already effected, and should ask themselves what tangible benefit has been obtained at so terrible a cost. Mr Cobden knows better than to resume consideration of free-trade principles, now that we have seen them in actual operation. He is advancing on with his myrmidons towards the Moscow of free trade; but, unless we are greatly mistaken, he may have occasion, some day or other, to revisit his ancient battlefields, but not in the capacity of a conqueror. There are, however, others, less deeply pledged, who begin to perceive that in attempting to carry out free trade without reciprocity, and in the face of hostile tariffs, we are ruining the trade of Britain for the sole advantage of the foreigner. Mr Muntz, the member for Birmingham, is not at one with ministers as to the cheerful prospect of the revival among the manufacturers.

"When I came here," said he characteristically, "I heard a great deal about the improvement of trade in the country. But I went home on Saturday, and there was not a man I met who had experienced any of this improvement in trade. On the contrary, every one said that trade was flat and unprofitable, and that there was no prospect of improvement because they were so much competed with by foreign manufacturers. This very morning I met with one of my travellers, who had just returned from the north of Germany; and I asked him what was the state of trade. 'Oh,' said he, 'there is plenty of trade in Germany, but not trade with England. They manufacture goods so cheaply themselves, that, at the prices you sell, low as they are, you cannot compete with the Germans.' I will tell the House another curious thing. About three or four years ago, the glassmakers of Birmingham were very anxious for free trade, and, though I warned them that I did not think they could compete with foreigners, yet they were quite certain they could. Well, I introduced them to the minister of the day—the right honourable baronet the member of Tamworth—when, to my horror and astonishment, they asked, not for free trade, but for three years of protection. Why, I said to them, I thought you were for free trade? 'Yes,' they replied, 'so we are; but we want the three years of protection to prepare us for free trade.' Now, on Saturday last, I received a letter from one of the leading manufacturers, stating that the import duties on flint-glass would expire very soon, and with those duties the trade in this country, he feared, was also in great danger of expiring, owing to the produce of manufactures being admitted duty-free into this country, while they had protective duties in their own, thus keeping up the price at home by sending over the surplus stock here. The letter concluded by requesting that the protective duties, which were about to expire, might be renewed. The improvement in trade, which was so much talked of, is not an improvement in quality, but an improvement in quantity: there are half a dozen other trades which have vanished from Birmingham, because of the over-competition of the Continent. And, strangely enough, the manufactures that have been the most injured are those which last week were held up by the public press as in a most flourishing condition!"

This statement furnishes ample ground for reflection. The truth is, that the whole scheme of free trade was erected and framed, not for the purpose of benefiting the manufacturers at the expense of the landed interest, [379] but rather to get a monopoly of export for one or two of the leading manufactures of the empire. Those who were engaged in the cotton and woollen trade, along with some of the iron-masters, were at the head of the movement. No influx of foreign manufactured produce could by possibility swamp them in the home market, for they are not exposed to that competition with which the smaller trades must struggle. The Germans will take shirtings, but they will not now take cutlery from us. The articles which they produce are certainly not so good as ours, but they are cheaper, and protected, and it is even worth their while to compete with us in the home markets of Britain. The same may be said of the trade in brass, gloves, shoes, hats, earthenware, porcelain, and fifty others. They are not now exporting trades, and at home, under the new tariffs, we are completely undersold by the foreigners. As for the glass trade, no one who is acquainted with the present state of that manufacture on the Continent, can expect that it will ever again recover. This, in reality, is the cause of the present depression; and until this is thoroughly understood by the tradesmen who are suffering, there can be no improvement for the better. What advantage, we ask, can it be to a man who finds his profits disappearing, his trade reduced to stagnation, and his capability of giving employment absolutely annihilated, to know that, in consequence of some sudden impulse, twenty million additional yards of calico have been exported from Great Britain? The glass-blower, the brazier, and the cutler, have not the remotest interest in calico. They may think, indeed, that part of the profit so secured may be indirectly advantageous in the purchase of their wares, but they find themselves lamentably mistaken. The astute calico-master sells his wares to the foreigner abroad, and he purchases with equal disinterestedness from the manufacturing foreigner at home. This is the whole tendency of free trade, and it is amazing to us that the juggle should find any supporters amongst the class who are its actual victims. If they look soberly and deliberately into the matter, they cannot fail to see that the adoption by the state of the maxim, to sell in the dearest and buy in the cheapest market, more especially when that market is the home one, and when cheapness has been superinduced by the introduction of foreign labour, must end in the consummation of their ruin. Can we really believe in the assertion of ministers, that manufactures are improving, when we find, on all hands, such pregnant assurances to the contrary? For example, there was a meeting held in St James's, so late as the 11th of January, "to consider the unprecedented number of unemployed mechanics and workmen now in the metropolis, and to devise the best means for diminishing their privations and sufferings, by providing them with employment." Mr Lushington, M.P. for Westminster, a thorough-paced liberal, moved the first resolution, the tendency of which was towards the institution of soup kitchens, upon this preamble, "that the number of operatives, mechanics, and labourers now thrown out of employment is unusually great, and the consequent destitution and distress which exist on all sides are painfully excessive, and deeply alarming." And yet, Mr Lushington, like many of his class and stamp, can penetrate no deeper into the causes of distress, than is exhibited in the following paragraph of his speech:—"The great majority of those whose cases they were now met to consider, were the victims of misfortune, and not of crime, and, on that account, they had a legitimate claim upon their sympathy and commiseration. But private sympathy was impotent to grapple with the gigantic evil with which they had to contend; isolated efforts and voluntary alms-giving were but a mere drop in the ocean, compared with the remedy that the case demanded. They must go further and deeper for their remedy; and the only efficacious one that could effectually be brought to bear upon the miseries of the people, was the reduction of the national expenditure—the cutting down of the army, navy, and ordnance estimates, and the removal of those taxes that pressed so heavily upon the poorer portions of the community." This is about as fine a specimen of unadulterated [380] senatorial drivel as we ever had the good fortune to meet with; and it may serve as an apt illustration of the absurd style of argument so commonly employed by the members of the free-trade party. Suppose that the army were disbanded to-morrow, and all the sailors in the navy paid off, how would that give employment to the unfortunate poor? Nay, would it not materially contribute to increase the tide of pauperism, since no economist has as yet condescended to explain what sort of employment is to be given to the disbanded? As to the taxes spoken of by Mr Lushington, what are they? We really cannot comprehend the meaning of this illustrious representative of an enlightened constituency. Supposing there was not a single tax levied in Britain to-morrow, how would that arrangement better the condition of the people, who are simply starving because they can get no manner of work whatever? It is this silly but mischievous babbling, these false and illogical conclusions enunciated by men who either do not understand what they are saying, or who, understanding it, are unfit for the station which they occupy, which tend more than anything else to spread disaffection among the lower orders, to impress them with the idea that they are unjustly dealt with, and to stimulate them in their periodical outcry for organic changes. The remedy lies in restoring to the labouring man those privileges of which he has been insidiously robbed by the operation of the free-trade measures. It lies in returning to the system which secured a full revenue to the nation, whilst, at the same time, it prevented the minor trades from being swamped by foreign competition. It lies in refusing to allow one class of the community to extinguish others, and to throw the burden of the pauperism which it creates upon the landed interest, already contending with enormous difficulties. Until this be done, it is in vain to expect any real improvement in the condition of the working-classes. Each successive branch of industry that is pulled down, under the operation of the new system, adds largely to the mass of accumulating misery; and the longer the experiment is continued, the greater will be the permanent injury to the country.

Not the least evil resulting from the free-trade agitation is the selfishness and division of classes which it has studiously endeavoured to promote. So long as the agriculturists alone were menaced, the whole body of the manufacturers were against them. The tariffs of 1846 struck at the small traders and artisans, and the merchants looked on with indifference. Now the question relates to the Navigation Laws, and the shipmasters of Britain complain that they cannot rouse the nation to a sense of the meditated wrong. Every one has been ready to advocate free trade in every branch save that with which he was personally connected; and it is this shortsighted policy which has given such power to the assailing party. Deeply do we deplore the folly as well as the wickedness of such divisions. No nation can ever hope to prosper through the prosperity of one class alone. It is not the wealth of individuals which gives stability to a state, but the fair distribution of profitable labour throughout the whole of the community. In contending for the support of the Navigation Laws, we are not advocating the cause of the shipmasters, but that of the nation; and yet we feel that if the principle of free trade be once fully admitted, no exception can be made, even in this vital point. If we intend to retain our colonies, we must do justice to them one way or another. We cannot deprive them of the advantages which they formerly enjoyed from their connexion with the parent country, and yet subject them to a burden of this kind, even although we hold that burden necessary for the effectual maintenance of our marine. We await the decision of this matter in parliament with very great anxiety indeed, because we look upon the adoption or the rejection of Mr Labouchere's bill as the index to our future policy. If it receives the royal assent, we must perforce prepare for organic changes far greater than this country has ever yet experienced. The colonies may still, indeed, be considered as portions of the British empire, but hardly worth the cost of retention. Free trade will have done [381] its work. The excise duties cannot be suffered to continue, for they too, according to the modern idea, are oppressive and unjust; and the period, thus foreshadowed by Mr Cobden at the late Manchester banquet, will rapidly arrive: "It is not merely protective duties that are getting out of favour in this country; but, however strong or weak it may be at present, still there is firmly and rapidly growing an opinion decidedly opposed, not merely to duties for protection, but to duties for revenue at all. I venture to say you will not live to see another statesman in England propose any customs-duty on a raw material or article of first necessity like corn. I question whether any statesman who has any regard for his future fame will ever propose another excise or customs-duty at all." The whole revenue will then fall to be collected directly: and how long the national creditor will be able to maintain his claim against direct taxation is a problem which we decline to solve. The land of Great Britain, like that of Ireland, will be worthless to its owner, and left to satisfy the claims of pauperism; and America, wiser than the old country, will become to the middle classes the harbour of refuge and of peace.

We do not believe that these things will happen, because we have faith in the sound sterling sense of Englishmen, and in the destinies of this noble country. We are satisfied that the time is rapidly approaching when a thorough reconstruction of our whole commercial and financial policy will be imperatively demanded from the government—a task which the present occupants of office are notoriously incapable of undertaking, but which must be carried through by some efficient cabinet. Such a measure cannot be introduced piecemeal after the destructive fashion, but must be based upon clear and comprehensive principles, doing justice to all classes of the community, and showing undue favour to none.

Our observations have already extended to such a length, that we have little room to speak of that everlasting topic, Ireland. "Ireland," says Lord John Russell, "is undergoing a great transition." This is indeed news, and we shall be glad to learn the particulars so soon as convenient. Perhaps the transition may be explained before the committee, to which, as usual, Whig helplessness and imbecility has referred the whole question of Irish distress. The confidence of the Whigs in the patience of the people of this country must be boundless, else they would hardly have ventured again to resort to so stale an expedient. It is easy to devolve the whole duties of government upon committees, but we are very much mistaken if such trifling will be longer endured. As to the distress in Ireland, it is fully admitted. Whenever the bulk of a nation is so demoralised as to prefer living on alms to honest labour, distress is the inevitable consequence; and the only way to cure the habit is carefully to withhold the alms. Ministers think otherwise, and they have carried a present grant of fifty thousand pounds from the imperial exchequer, which may serve for a week or so, when doubtless another application will be tabled. This is neither more nor less than downright robbery of the British people under the name of charity. Ireland must in future be left to depend entirely upon her own resources; situated as we are, it would be madness to support her further; and we hope that every constituency throughout the United Kingdom will keep a watchful eye on the conduct pursued by their representatives in the event of any attempt at further spoliation. From all the evidence before us, it appears that our former liberality has been thrown away. Not only was no gratitude shown for the enormous advances of last year, but the money was recklessly squandered and misapplied, no doubt in the full and confident expectation of continued remittances. And here we beg to suggest to honourable members from the other side of the Channel, whether it might not be well to consider what effect free trade has had in ameliorating the condition of Ireland. If on inquiry at Liverpool they should chance to find that pork is now imported direct from America, not only salted, but fresh and preserved in ice, and that in such quantities and at so low a rate as seriously to affect the sale of the Irish produce, perhaps patriotism may operate [382] in their minds that conviction which reasoning would not effect. If also they should chance to learn that butter and dairy produce can no longer command a remunerative price, owing to the increased imports both from America and the Continent, they will have made one further step towards the science of political economy, and may form some useful calculations as to the prospect of future rentals. Should they, however, still be of opinion that the interests of the Irish people are inseparably bound up with the continuance of free trade—that neither prices nor useful labour are matters of any consequence—they must also bear in mind that they can no longer be allowed to intromit with the public purse of Britain. The Whigs may indeed, and probably will, make one other vigorous effort to secure their votes; but no party in this nation is now disposed to sanction such iniquitous proceedings, and all of us will so far respond to the call for economy, as sternly to refuse alms to an indolent and ungrateful object.

In conclusion, we shall merely remark that we look forward with much interest to the financial exposition of the year, in the hope that it may be more intelligible and satisfactory than the last. We shall then understand the nature and the amount of the reductions which have been announced under such extraordinary circumstances, and the state of the revenue will inform those who feel themselves oppressed by excise duties, of the chances of reduction in that quarter. Meanwhile we cannot refrain from expressing our gratitude to both Lord Stanley and Mr D'Israeli for their masterly expositions of the weak and vacillating policy pursued by the Whig government abroad, and of the false colour which was attempted to be thrown upon the state and prospect of industry at home. Deeply as we lamented the premature decease of Lord George Bentinck at the very time when the value of his public service, keen understanding, and high and exalted principle, was daily becoming more and more appreciated by the country, we are rejoiced to know that his example has not been in vain; that his noble and philanthropic spirit still lives in the councils of those who have the welfare of the British people at heart, and who are resolute not to yield to the pressure of a base democracy, actuated by the meanest of personal motives, unscrupulous as to the means which it employs, impervious to reason, and utterly reckless of consequences, provided it may attain its end. Against that democracy which has elsewhere not only shattered constitutions but prostrated society, a determined stand will be made; and our heartfelt prayer is, that the cause of truth may prevail.

Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh.


[1] Stephens' Book of the Farm, Second Edition, vol. I.

[2] In a recent number of the North British Agriculturist, it is stated that an agricultural stoker, who thought himself qualified to discourse on the uses of science to agriculture, had astonished a late meeting of the Newcastle Farmers' Club by telling them that the only thing science had yet done for agriculture was to show them how to dissolve bones in sulphuric acid; and that chemistry might boast of having really effected something if it could teach him to raise long potatoes, as he used to do, or to grow potato instead of Tartary oats, as his next-door neighbour could do. No wonder the shrewd Tyne-siders were astonished.

[3] Where ¶ (pilcrow,) or paragraph, is placed at the side of the verse.

[4] Tibullus, iii. 4, 55.

[5] Système des Contradictions Economiques; ou Philosophie de la Misère. Par J. P. Prudhon.

[6] Vol. ii., p. 461.

[7] Cellar for goods.

[8] Asylum of the world.

[9] District judicial courts.

[10] Flushi.e., level.

[11] Steward and Butler.

[12] Sport.

[13] Turban-wearing.

[14] Little Girl! Do you hear, sweet one?

[15] Officer.

[16] Look.

[17] 'Tis a lie, you scoundrel.

[18] That is true.

[19] "Mother Carey,"—an obscure sea-divinity chiefly celebrated for her "chickens," as Juno ashore for her peacocks. Quere,—a personification of the providential Care of Nature for her weaker children, amongst whom the little stormy petrels are conspicuous; while, at the same time, touchingly associating the Pagan to the Christian sea mythology by their double name—the latter, a diminutive of Peter walking by faith upon the waters. In the nautical creed, "Davy Jones" represents the abstract power, and "Mother Carey" the practically developed experience, which together make up the life Oceanic.

[20] Histoire de Don Pédre Ier, Roi de Castille. Par Prosper Mérimée, de l'Académie Française. Pp. 586. Paris, 1848.

[21] Blackwood's Magazine, No. CCCLXXX.

[22] The ricos hombres, literally rich men, did not yet bear titles, which were reserved for members of the royal family. Thus, Henry de Trastamare was commonly designated as "the Count," he being the only one in Castile. When crowned at Burgos, in 1366, he lavished the titles of count and marquis, previously so charily bestowed, not only upon the magnates of the land, but upon Bertrand Duguesclin, Sir Hugh Calverley, Denia the Arragonese, and other foreign adventurers and allies. "Such was the generosity, or rather the profusion of the new king, that it gave rise to a proverbial expression long current in Spain: Henry's favours (Mercedes Enriquenas) was thenceforward the term applied to recompenses obtained before they were deserved."—Mérimée, p. 451-2. A rico hombre was created by receiving at the king's hand a banner and a cauldron (Pendon y Caldera)—the one to guide his soldiers, the other to feed them. The fidalgos or hidalgos (from hijodalgo, the son of somebody) were dependants of the ricos hombres, as these were of the king. "Every nobleman had a certain number of gentlemen who did him homage, and held their lands in fee of him. In their turn, these gentlemen had vassals, so that the labourer had many masters, whose orders were often contradictory. These mediæval institutions gave rise to strange complications, only to be unravelled by violence. Nevertheless, the laws and national usages directed the vassal, whatever his condition, to obey his immediate superior. Thus, a mere knight did not incur penalty of treason by taking arms against the king by order of the rich-man to whom he paid homage."—Mérimée, p. 29. Some curious illustrations are subjoined. In 1334, Alphonso took the field against an insubordinate vassal, and besieged him in his town of Lerma. Garcia de Padilla, a knight attached to the rebel, seeing an amicable arrangement impossible, boldly demanded of Don Alphonso a horse and armour, to go and fight under the banner of his liege lord. The king instantly complied with his request, warning him, however, that if taken, he should pay with his head for his fidelity to the lord of Lerma. "I distinguish," says M. Mérimée, "in the action and words of Don Alphonso, the contrast of the knight and the king united in the same man. The one yields to his prejudices of chivalrous honour, the other will have the rights of his crown respected. The customs of the age and the dictates of policy contend in the generous monarch's breast."—P. 30.

[23] "It were a great error to attribute to Spain, in the 14th century, the religious passions and intolerant spirit that animated it in the 16th. In the wars between Moors and Christians, politics had long had a far larger share than fanaticism.... Although the Inquisition had been established more than a century, its power was far from being what it afterwards became. As to Jews and Moors, they were subject to the jurisdiction of the Holy Office only when they sought, by word or writing, to turn Christians from the faith of their fathers; and even then, royal authorisation was necessary before they could be prosecuted. And the kings showed themselves, in general, little disposed to let the clergy increase their influence. In 1350, Peter IV. of Arragon rigorously forbade ecclesiastics to infringe on secular jurisdiction.... There was much lukewarmness in matters of religion; and to this, perhaps, is to be attributed the very secondary part played by the clergy in all the political debates of the 14th century. The inferior clergy, living and recruiting its ranks amongst the people, shared the ignorance and rudeness of the latter. Such was the prevalent immorality, that a great number of priests maintained concubines, who were vain of the holy profession of their lovers, and claimed particular distinctions. The conduct of these ecclesiastics occasioned no scandal, but the luxury affected by their mistresses often excited the envy of rich citizens, and even of noble ladies. Repeatedly, and always in vain, the Cortes launched decrees intended to repress the insolence of the damoiselles de prétres, (barraganas de clérigos,) who formed a distinct class or caste, enjoying special privileges, and sufficiently numerous to require the invention of laws for them alone."—Mérimée, p. 34 to 38. These passages tend to explain what might otherwise seem incomprehensible—the passive submission of the Spanish priesthood to encroachments upon their temporal goods. Since then they have rarely shown themselves so enduring; and the mere hint of an attack upon their power or opulence has usually been the signal for mischievous intrigue, and often for bloody strife. It is a question, (setting aside the barraganas, although these, up to no remote date, may be said to have been rather veiled than suppressed,) whether the Spanish priests of the 14th century were not nearly as enlightened as their successors of the 19th. They certainly were far more tolerant. "Arab language and literature," M. Mérimée tells us, "were cultivated in schools founded under ecclesiastical patronage."

In the Cortes held at Valladolid, in 1351, we find Don Pedro rejecting the petitions of the clergy, who craved restitution of the revenues appropriated by the crown, to their prejudice, under his father's reign.

[24] In various details of Don Pedro's life and character we trace resemblance to the eastern despot, although there seems no foundation for the charges of infidelity brought against him towards the close of his reign, and which may partly have originated, perhaps, in his close alliance with the Granadine Moors, a body of whose light cavalry for some time formed his escort. Contiguity of territory, commercial intercourse, and political necessities, had assimilated to a certain extent the manners and usages of Spaniards and Saracens, and given the former an oriental tinge, of which, even at the present day, faint vestiges are here and there perceptible. Don Pedro's orientalism was particularly perceptible in the mode of many of the executions that ensanguined his reign. He had constantly about him a band of cross-bowmen who waited on his nod, and recoiled from no cruelty. Occasionally we find him sending one of them to some distant place to communicate and execute the doom of an offending subject. This recalls the Turkish mute and bowstring. These death-dealing archers seem to have employed mace and dagger more frequently than axe or cord. They were assassins rather than executioners. They officiated in the case of Garci Laso. "Alburquerque, impatient of delay, warned the king that it was time to give final orders. Don Pedro, accustomed to repeat those of his minister, bade two of Alburquerque's gentlemen go tell the prisoner's guards to despatch him. The arbalisters, blind instruments of the king's will, mistrusted an order transmitted to them by Alburquerque's people, and desired to receive it from their master's mouth. One of them went to ask him what was to be done with Garci Laso. 'Let him be killed!' replied the king. This time duly authorised, the arbalister ran to the prisoner, and struck him down with a blow of a mace upon his head. His comrades finished him with their daggers. The body of Garci Laso was thrown upon the public square, where the king's entrance was celebrated, according to Castilian custom, by a bull-fight. The bulls trampled the corpse, and tossed it upon their horns. It was taken from them for exhibition upon a scaffold, where it remained a whole day. At last it was placed upon a bier, which was fixed upon the rampart of Camparanda. It was the treatment reserved for the bodies of great malefactors."—Mérimée, p. 73.

[25] "In 1339, Don Gonzalo Martinez, Master of Alcantara, having rebelled against the king Don Alphonso, was besieged and taken in his castle of Valencia, and Coronel presided at his execution."—Chronica de Don Alphonso XI., p. 385.

[26] The Castilian tongue is rich in words descriptive of grace in women. Spain is, certainly, the country where that quality is most common. I will cite only a few of those expressions, indicative of shades easier to appreciate than to translate. Garbo is grace combined with nobility; donayre, elegance of bearing, vivacity of wit; salero, voluptuous and provocative grace; zandunga, the kind of grace peculiar to the Andalusians—a happy mixture of readiness and nonchalance. People applaud the garbo or donayre of a duchess, the salero of an actress, the zandunga of a gipsy of Jerez.—Mérimée, p. 110.

[27] The enchantment of Don Pedro by Maria Padilla is a popular tradition in Andalusia, where the memory of both is vividly preserved. It is further added, that Maria Padilla was a queen of the gipsies—their bari crallisa—consequently consummate mistress of the art of concocting philters. Unfortunately, the gipsies were scarcely seen in Europe till a century later. The author of the Première Vie du Pape Innocent VI. gravely relates that Blanche, having made her husband a present of a golden girdle, Maria Padilla, assisted by a Jew, a notorious sorcerer, changed it into a serpent, one day that the king had it on. The surprise of the king and his court may be imagined, when the girdle began to writhe and hiss; whereupon the Padilla easily succeeded in persuading her lover that Blanche was a magician bent upon destroying him by her arts.—Mérimée, p. 120.

[28] Zuñiga, Anales de Sevilla.—"The people say, that Maria Coronel, pursued by Don Pedro, in the suburb of Triana, plunged her head into a pan in which a gipsy was cooking fritters. I was shown the house in front of which the incident occurred, and I was desired to remark, as an incontrovertible proof, that it is still inhabited by gipsies, whose kitchen is in the open street."—Mérimée, p. 247.

[29] We have already adverted to the religious tolerance of the time, and to the intermixture of Mussulmans and Christians: M. Mérimée gives some curious details on this subject. The nobility of Castile made no difficulty to grant the Don to the Moorish cavaliers, and the rich Jew bankers obtained the same distinction, then very rare amongst the Christians themselves. Thus Ayala, the chronicler, speaks of Don Farax, Don Simuel, Don Reduan, &c.; although of Spaniards he gives the Don only to the princes of the blood, to a few very powerful ricos hombres, to certain great officers of the crown, and to the masters of the military orders of knights. The Andalusian Moors were frequently treated as equals by the chevaliers of Castile; but this is far less astonishing than that the Jews should have attained to high honours and office. Pedro, however, seems always to have had a leaning towards them, and the Israelites, on their part, invariably supported him. He was more than once, in the latter part of his reign, heard to say that the Moors and Hebrews were his only loyal subjects. At Miranda, on the Ebro, in 1360, the populace, stirred up by Henry of Trastamare, massacred the Jews, and pillaged their dwellings. The object of the Count was to compromise the townspeople, and thus to attach them indissolubly to his cause. When Pedro arrived, he had the ringleaders of the riot arrested; and, in his presence, the unhappy wretches were burned alive, or boiled in immense cauldrons. Obsolete laws were revived, to justify these terrible executions; but the crime of the offenders was forgotten in the horror excited by such barbarous punishments. It was just after these scenes of cruelty that a priest, coming from Santo-Domingo de la Calzada, craved private audience of the king, 'Sire,' said he, 'my Lord Saint Dominick has appeared to me in a dream, bidding me warn you that, if you do not amend your life, Don Henry, your brother, will slay you with his own hand.' This prophecy, on the eve of a battle between the brothers, was probably the result of fanatical hatred, on the part of the priests towards a king now generally accused of irreligion. Whatever dictated it, Pedro was at first startled by the prophet's confident and inspired air, but soon he thought it was a stratagem of his enemies to discourage him and his troops. The priest, who persisted that his mission was from St Dominick, was burned alive in front of the army.—Mérimée, pp. 35, 290, 299, &c.

[30] "According to the interpolator of the chronicle of the Despensero Mayor, Simuel Levi, whose death he erroneously fixes in the year 1366, was denounced to the king by several Jews, envious of his immense riches. Simuel, on being put to the torture, died of indignation, 'de puro corage,' says the anonymous author, whom I copy, since I cannot understand him. There were found, in a vault beneath his house, three piles of gold and silver lingots, so lofty 'that a man standing behind them was not seen.' The king, on beholding this treasure, exclaimed—'If Don Simuel had given me the third part of the smallest of these heaps, I would not have had him tortured. How could he consent to die rather than speak?' Sumario de los Reyes de España, p. 73. Credat Judæus Apella."—Mérimée, p. 317.

Don Pedro was often accused of avarice, although it appears probable that his fondness of money sprang from his experience of the power it gave, and of its absolute necessity in the wars in which he was continually engaged, rather than from any abstract love of gold. When, after his flight from Spain in 1366, his treasures were traitorously given up to his rival by Admiral Boccanegra, who had been charged to convey them to Portugal, they amounted to thirty-six quintals of gold, (something like fourteen hundred thousand pounds sterling—a monstrous sum in those days,) besides a quantity of jewels.

[31] The custom of the time, according to Froissart and others. On the march, most of the soldiers, sometimes even the archers, were on horseback; but when the hour of battle arrived, spurs were removed, horses sent away, and lances shortened. When the time came for flight and pursuit, the combatants again sprang into their saddles.

[32] We find that we have given the leaguers rather too much credit in the above paragraph. Some of them appear to think that, whether necessary or not, our forces should be dispensed with; at least so we gather from the following expressions contained in a dull ill-written tract, purporting to emanate from the "Edinburgh Financial Reform Association," which has just come into our hands. Let us hear the patriotic economists. "If there be any other cause for maintaining a huge and expensive force, it must be found in the desire to provide for the scions of the nobility and landed gentry, with a view to secure votes in both houses of parliament. As is well known, commissions in the army and navy are held almost entirely by these classes. No doubt, officers in active service may be said to give work for their pay, while their gallantry as soldiers is beyond dispute; but this, unfortunately, does not mend the matter. Their services we hold to be for the greater part unnecessary; at all events, they are services for which the nation cannot afford to pay any longer, and they THEREFORE ought to be relinquished." This is intelligible enough; but we hardly think there are many reasoners of this calibre.

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious typographical errors have been repaired. Accepted older spellings were retained (for example, "wofully," "bran-new," "lingot," etc.).

P. 287, "as offusc and impervious a fold"--unable to verify an alternate spelling for "offusc."

P. 299, "the Income Tax. the Chancellor"--period after Tax present in original; possibly an abbreviation for Taxation.

P. 321, last line of poem: "Chase the BuffalO!"--capitalization of final "O" is true to original.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No.
401, March 1849, by Various


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